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Politics & society

EU summit deletes term "rule of law"

By Darren Kóvacs 2020-07-21
Asked how Hungary has managed to secure extra money during the talks in Brussels, Viktor Orban told Politico that it was "his secret."
The passages on the "rule of law mechanism" were not simply watered down. They were deleted from the document approved at the EU summit in Brussels in the early hours of Tuesday.

Viktor Orban "is no longer held hostage," Politico wrote on its website, citing EU sources. With a last-minute trick, Hungary's prime minister managed to secure an additional 3 billion euros for Hungary from the structural funds of the EU's next seven-year budget.

The European Council underlines the importance of the respect of the rule of law

On the fourth day of the Brussels EU summit, European Council President Charles Michel amended his proposal on the rule of law conditionality to "reflect the concerns of Poland and Hungary," according to Politico's live, minute-by-minute coverage on Monday evening.

New update from Politico

The original proposal stated that breaches of democracy and rule of law could lead to the withdrawal of EU funds from member states. In the early hours of Tuesday, however, Politico published a new update about another, final version in terms of the rule of law mechanism.

"The European Council underlines the importance of the respect of the rule of law", Charles Michel's Monday proposal reads. However, the passages referring to the rule of law condition have been deleted from the specific description of the payment mechanism.

Law assessment left out of the text

According to Politico, the paragraph calling on the European Commission to carry out an annual rule of law assessment has also been left out of the text, along with the section requesting the European Court of Auditors to report on the member states' use of EU funds.

Asked how Hungary has managed to secure extra money during the talks in Brussels, Viktor Orban told Politico that it was "his secret." "I have some advantage that simply comes from the fact that I'm an old man and this was not my first summit," the Hungarian leader told journalists in Brussels. "Seven years ago I did the same (...) and political experience weighs in heavily, especially in the final moments."

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