Monday October 18th, 2021 2:59AM

Hungary sticks to veto of EU budget over rule-of-law issue

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary's prime minister on Wednesday called the European Union's proposed mechanism to link the rule of law to budget disbursements for EU nations a “political and ideological weapon,” claiming it was designed to blackmail and punish countries that reject immigration.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Poland are currently using their EU vetos to stop a 1.8 trillion euro ($2.1 trillion) EU budget and coronavirus recovery package from taking effect. They say they will continue doing so as long as other EU nations maintain their commitment to including the rule of law mechanism in the budget — and they got strong backing from Slovenia on Wednesday.

The issue is set to become a major dispute at Thursday's EU video summit of the leaders of the 27 member nations. Most EU nations said a linkage between getting funds and respecting the rule of law was necessary amid accusations that some of the cornerstones of Western democracy are being undermined in both Hungary and Poland, nations that get substantial funds from the EU.

The budget is supposed to take effect on Jan. 1. All EU nations badly need the money as coronavirus infections and deaths surge around Europe and economies are ravaged by both increased health care demands and lockdowns to slow the pace of contamination.

Orban claimed Wednesday that the dispute was linked to his restrictive views on immigration, which are unpopular in some EU circles.

“In Brussels today, they only view countries which let migrants in as those governed by the rule of law. Those who protect their borders cannot qualify as countries where rule of law prevails,” he said in a statement released to the state news agency MTI.

Orban also claimed that rule of law conditions lack objective criteria and don't allow countries sanctioned under the mechanism to seek legal remedies.

“Once this proposal gets adopted, there will be no more obstacles to tying member states’ share of common funds to supporting migration and us(ing) financial means to blackmail countries which oppose migration,” he said.

Orban and other Hungarian officials have consistently sought to portray attempts in Brussels to rein in Hungary’s democratic backsliding as rooted solely in pressuring the country to accept immigrants.

But EU concerns that Hungary is undermining the rule of law have focused on a wide range of issues, including judicial independence, freedom of expression, corruption, the rights of minorities, and the situation of migrants and refugees in Hungary.

“Hungary, in fact, is a dedicated follower of the rule of law. The Ieaders of the current governing parties were the people who fought out democracy in the face of the communist dictatorship,” Orban said. “In our view, tying economic and financial questions to political debates would be a grave mistake, one that would undermine Europe’s unity.”

Slovenia’s Prime Minister Janez Jansa, a close ally of Orban, gave his support to Hungary and Poland.

In a letter to top EU officials Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, Jansa said even though Slovenia supports respecting the rule of law in all cases, “discretionary mechanisms that are not based on independent judgement but on politically motivated criteria cannot be called ‘the rule of law.’”

“Today, numerous media and some political groups in the European Parliament are openly threatening to use the instrument wrongly called ‘the rule of law’ in order to discipline individual EU member states through a majority vote,” he wrote, according to Slovenia’s STA news agency.

Jansa says there are many challenges ahead for the EU, warning that “following a wrong course, unfortunately, a good future of Europe, whole and free, is slipping out of our hands."


Follow AP’s coverage at and


Dusan Stojanovic contributed from Belgrade.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2021
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Hungary sticks to veto of EU budget over rule-of-law issue
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban says the European Union’s proposed mechanism to link rule of law criteria to budget disbursements for EU nations is a “political and ideological weapon.”
7:35AM ( 17 minutes ago )
A rusty Giuliani returns to the courtroom on Trump's behalf
Rudy Giuliani showed some rust returning to a courtroom as an attorney for the first time in decades as he tried to make a stand in Pennsylvania for President Donald Trump
7:34AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Global stocks turn higher on more upbeat news about vaccines
Global stock markets are pushing higher after the release of more upbeat data about the coronavirus vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech
7:24AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump fires agency head who vouched for 2020 vote security
President Donald Trump has fired the nation’s top election security official, a widely respected member of the administration who had dared to refute the Republican president’s unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud
6:09AM ( 1 hour ago )
Sorry, Grinch. Virus won't stop NORAD from tracking Santa
Children of the world can rest easy
5:53AM ( 2 hours ago )
German capital braces for protests of coronavirus measures
Berlin police are cordoning off a wide perimeter around the capital’s government center in preparation for protests expected as parliament votes on a bill that would strengthen the government’s ability to impose restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus
4:58AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Peruvians get 3rd president in a week amid cautious hopes
Peru has sworn in its third president in just over a week
8:29PM ( 11 hours ago )
Historic deal revives plan for largest US dam demolition
A new agreement paves the way for the largest dam demolition in U.S. history to try to save salmon that are critical to tribes and have dwindled to almost nothing in recent years
7:37PM ( 12 hours ago )
Thai protesters, police clash as MPs mull charter change
Pro-democracy protesters in Thailand have battled police who sought to keep them from entering the grounds of Parliament to press for constitutional changes as lawmakers debate whether to back proposed amendments
7:14PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Global luxury sales forecast to plunge 23% due to pandemic
A study shows that sales of luxury apparel, jewelry and beauty products are set to plunge by nearly a quarter this year as the pandemic wipes out more than six years of growth
6:40AM ( 1 hour ago )
Pompeo expected to visit Israeli settlement in parting gift
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s expected tour of a West Bank winery this week will be the first time a top U.S. diplomat has visited an Israeli settlement
6:33AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Europe sees half of world's 4 million new cases
The World Health Organization says nearly 4 million new coronavirus cases were reported globally last week, with Europe accounting for nearly half of all cases
6:21AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Global stocks turn higher on more upbeat news about vaccines
Global stock markets are pushing higher after the release of more upbeat data about the coronavirus vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech
7:24AM ( 30 minutes ago )
China defends food import controls to curb virus
China’s government is defending anti-coronavirus controls that have disrupted imports of beef, poultry and fish from the United States, New Zealand and other trading partners
7:16AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Watchdog slams UK over secrecy in virus equipment contracts
Britain's public spending watchdog says the government spent billions without proper transparency in a scramble to secure protective equipment early in the coronavirus outbreak
7:04AM ( 50 minutes ago )
Berlin police forcefully disperse protest over virus rules
German police fired water cannons at demonstrators in downtown Berlin protesting coronavirus restrictions after saying the crowd refused to listen to their entreaties to wear masks and keep their distance from one another
7:02AM ( 52 minutes ago )
Pfizer: COVID-19 shot 95% effective, seeking clearance soon
Pfizer announced more results in its ongoing coronavirus vaccine study that suggest the shots are 95% effective
7:01AM ( 53 minutes ago )