Kover: Rule of law issue, recovery package talks should be kept separate

The debate around the rule of law and the European Union's next seven-year budget and post-pandemic recovery package should be kept separate, Speaker of Parliament Laszlo Kover said after talks with his Polish counterpart in Wroclaw on Wednesday.

Addressing a joint press conference with Elzbieta Witek, the speaker of the Polish Sejm, Kover said Poland and Hungary were “in the crosshairs of the political and ideological crusade” he said was being mounted by Brussels and certain western European countries “with the aim of subjugating our interests to theirs”.

The speaker said these countries were using “rule of law procedures” as a facade for their campaigns against Poland and Hungary. On the subject of plans to tie receipt of EU funds to compliance with standards regarding the rule of law, Kover said the EU had by now launched multiple “operations” against Poland and Hungary and was not even backing away from amending the budget agreement reached by the European Council this past summer.

He said it was important for the Polish and Hungarian parliaments to make it clear that they would “have no part in a game that is practically aimed at blackmailing Hungary”. If the issue of the rule of law is not dropped from the talks on the bloc’s finances, Hungary and Poland will treat the matter as if EU leaders had failed to reach an agreement on the next budget, he added.

Kover said it was “irresponsible” of certain countries to “risk the economic and financial stability of the southern member states just to force through their ideologically and politically-driven agenda”.

Witek agreed that tying receipt of EU funds to the issue of the rule of law went against the bloc’s founding treaties.

The speakers said in a joint statement that addressing issues concerning the rule of law through agreements on finances without consent from member states could be considered an “unnecessary amendment” to the EU’s founding treaty. National parliaments have a duty to intervene in this attempt, they said.

They urged the European Parliament to approve the budget deal as soon as possible.

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