Yesterday, after the German presidency of the EU and all the member states accepted the agreement at the EU summit, Hungary and Poland claimed a historic victory in the rule of law negotiations.
“We’ve won. In a difficult period of pandemic and economic crisis, there’s no time to continue political and ideological debates that prevent us from acting,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the joint press conference with his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki.
Although the final details of the agreement are yet to be finalized, both Hungary and Poland have what they wanted. "We defended the European Constitution. We did not allow them to go around it," PM Orbán stated, adding, "We prevented the danger of using budgetary measures to pressure Hungarians into making decisions we do not want."
“Hungary has managed to retain its sovereignty after receiving the guarantees it requested;thus, an agreement could be reached on the long-term budget of the Union and the related recovery package,” Minister of Justice Judit Varga said on Kossuth Rádió this morning.
She also emphasized that “no one can blackmail any member state, including Hungary, to give up its position corresponding to its own national identity on ideological issues. […] Only the Hungarian and Polish sides reminded everyone during the negotiations that there are EU treaties here that require unanimity on certain issues, such as European values, including the rule of law.”
According to the new agreement, sanctions can only be applied if the rule of law is violated in the context of the EU's financial interests and is not used arbitrarily for political purposes (e.g., migration). Also in the new deal, Poland and Hungary will have the right to challenge rule-of-law decisions in the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which could delay any negative judgments for months or even years.
Photo credit: Facebook / Orbán Viktor