Brussels tells Hungary and Poland to make more progress on rule of law if they want recovery money payout

The European Commission has called on Hungary and Poland to do more to address the EU’s concerns about their maintenance of the rule of law if they want their pandemic recovery money.

On Friday, European Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said the EC was still withholding funding from Visegrad partners Hungary and Poland because the two nations were yet to address the EU’s recommendations concerning the rule of law. 

Speaking in the Slovenian town of Brdo, following a meeting of eurozone finance ministers, Gentiloni told a news conference that while some progress had been made, it wasn’t enough. “I hope that we can be able to make progress in near future, but we are not yet there,” he noted.

The two nations have been at loggerheads with the EU over issues relating to the rule of law. On Tuesday, the EU asked its top court to fine Poland over a judges’ disciplinary chamber Brussels claims is being used to pressure Polish judges and exert political authority over the courts. 

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Both countries objected to the EU’s imposition of conditions relating to the upholding of the rule of law in the latest European budget. The budget was passed despite their continued opposition.

In July, the European Commission launched legal action against both nations concerning measures introduced that impinges on the freedoms of the LGBTQ+ community. Viktor Orban’s government caused uproar over its banning of the dissemination of pro-LGBTQ+ material to minors.

Warsaw, meanwhile, insists that national law should not be subordinate to European law. Poland has also been fined by the EU for logging operations in a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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