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EU plans to make future payments conditional on rule of law compliance

March 2nd, 2020

A left-wing author doubts that the opposition can reasonably expect the European Union to force the Hungarian government to change course.

In his 168óra column, Győző Mátyás dismisses hopes spreading on social media about imminent measures to be taken by the European Union against recalcitrant member states found to be in breach of European values. Article 7 procedures are in fact underway against Hungary and Poland, he admits, but he doesn’t consider them as a real deterrent. Nor does he believe that it is Europe’s duty to put things right in Hungary. Moreover, he adds, any such interference can easily be framed as a violation of national sovereignty. Mátyás doesn’t believe that the clauses included in the draft EU budget for the forthcoming seven years, which make structural and cohesion payments conditional on compliance with rule of law principles, will have any tangible effect, as the budget must be approved by unanimous vote in the European Council. Some compromise will be reached, he predicts, before concluding that ‘Europe is not going to defend us from ourselves’.

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