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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Slovenian PM slams push to tie EU funds to rule of law: report

18.11.2020 13:45
The prime minister of Slovenia has slammed a push to make access to EU funds conditional on governments respecting the rule of law, saying such a mechanism would mean “the end of the European Union,” a Polish website reported on Wednesday.
Slovenias Prime Minister Janez Jana.
Slovenia's Prime Minister Janez Janša.Photo: PAP/EPA/FRANCISCO SECO/POOL

“The Lisbon Treaty establishes instruments to ensure respect for the rule of law in Europe,” Janez Janša said, as quoted by the tysol.pl website, referring to the bloc’s legal cornerstone.

He added: “Nevertheless, an attempt has been made at technical coordination between the leadership of the EU Parliament and the presidency of the EU Council with the aim of establishing an additional instrument.”

With this instrument, "a majority in the European Council will decide whether the rule of law is respected,” Janša said.

He argued that such decisions would then be made by "a political majority."

“If that happens, it will be the end of the European Union,” he warned.

A Polish deputy foreign minister said on Tuesday that Poland would not agree to a new mechanism that would link access to EU funds with respect for the rule of law.

“This is a red line that must not be crossed if the financial framework for the coming years is to be agreed,” said Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk, referring to the European Union's 2021-2027 budget.

At a meeting of ambassadors from EU governments in Brussels on Monday, Poland and Hungary refused to give the green light to the EU’s next budget and its COVID recovery programme. 

The move is not yet a final veto by Warsaw for the bloc’s budget, which must be approved unanimously by the EU’s 27 member states.

Earlier that day, the ambassadors by a majority of votes approved a mechanism to make the pay-out of funds from Brussels conditional on member states’ adherence to the rule of law.

Warsaw and Budapest have denied accusations by Brussels of violating democratic principles and undermining the independence of their courts.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last week that his country could not accept a link between access to EU funds and respect for the rule of law because the mechanism was based on “arbitrary and politically motivated criteria.”

He argued that such a mechanism “could lead to sanctioning the application of double standards and different treatment of individual EU member states.”

Most Poles are against the idea of linking access to EU funds to respect for the rule of law, a survey has found.

Fifty-seven percent of those polled supported a possible veto against the new EU budget if the spending plan is linked to the rule of law, Polish daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna reported.

(gs/pk)

Source: tysol.pl