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European recovery plan: Hungary and Poland threaten to derail everything

Will the massive European recovery plan snatched up at a marathon summit in July in Brussels really see the light of day? If the question arises, it is that before disbursing the 400 billion euros in subsidies and committing the 390 billion in loans – almost painless loans, since the debt will be shared for the first time at 27 -, the EU must validate each national recovery plan.

France, which is thus waiting 40 billion from Europe to fuel its own 100 billion plan, will lend itself as its partners to the exercise, from this Thursday, October 15. But even before the discussions start, the bickering and threats of blocking appear. To the point that the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, warned countries threatening to stop the machine while the resurgence of the pandemic weighs down economic recovery.

Kaszynski and Orban want to stay in control

In the viewfinder, Poland and Hungary. These two states reject in fact the “conditionality” between the payment of funds and the respect, by the beneficiary members, of the rule of law. For several years now, these “illiberal democracies” have trampled on European values, through their attacks on the judicial system, media freedoms, political pluralism, etc.

It is in particular the pressure of the European Parliament, more proactive than the Commission or the Council (club of 27 heads of state and government) in terms of respect for human rights, which resulted in this conditionality. Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski denounces “blackmail” and threatens, supported by Hungarian Viktor Orban, to veto the recovery plan.

Two days before the next European summit, Thursday, the Elysee wants to remain optimistic. “I do not believe in a lasting blockage, those who could block are also those who have an interest in benefiting from the plan”, analyzes a diplomat.

One question remains: faced with the urgency of the crisis linked to Covid-19, could Europe not advance to 25, or even less, without being hampered by the recalcitrant? A Europe with variable geometry on this theme is “not possible”, sweeps the diplomat. Such a plan, “historic” in its scope and with its principle of mutualisation of the debt, must make everyone realize that “Europe is a political project”. In other words, not a supermarket where you come to help yourself to a la carte.

Thursday, in Brussels, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who holds the six-monthly presidency of the EU, is expected to propose a compromise to move forward. Objective: complete everything, including the ratification of the plan by each of the 27 national parliaments, by January 1, 2021. So that the money actually arrives.


Original article by : www.leparisien.fr

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