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Doubts about the EU rescue package

July 17th, 2020

A liberal commentator believes PM Orbán will be able to sell the outcome of the EU Summit as a victory. A pro-government columnist finds the plans to spend the EU coronavirus rescue package unfair.

In Népszava, András Kósa predicts that the EU summit will find it easy to satisfy the conditions set by the Hungarian Parliament for the PM to approve the 750 billion Euro rescue package. Parliament authorized the government to only approve the package if there are no political strings attached, meaning no reference to the rule of law, nor grants to politically active NGOs. The government-sponsored bill, overwhelmingly supported by the Fidesz dominated Parliament, also demanded that the European Council put an end to the Article 7 procedure launched two years ago against Hungary. Kósa, a liberal journalist who works for the socialist daily, is certain that the Article 7 procedure is a burden on everyone, while the other two issues do not figure in the rescue project at all. They might concern the next seven-year EU budget, but unlike the rescue plan, that can wait until the autumn. Thus, he asserts, Mr Orbán will probably return home from Brussels declaring victory.

In Magyar Hírlap, Gábor Putsay finds it unfair for the European Union to favour richer countries, as he puts it, in the distribution mechanism of the rescue package. That would mean, he writes, that countries which have mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic are now to be rewarded, at the expense of poorer ones which have been more successful in tackling the health emergency. In Hungary’s case, he complains, that would result in a net loss – providing 6.5 billion Euro to the Fund, in exchange for the 6 billion Hungary can be allotted.

On HVG online, Mercédesz Gyükeri and Miklós Lengyel predict that the summit will end without any decisions on either the 7-year budget or the rescue package. The need for further consultations is only due to Hungary’s stand to a very small extent. The main reasons, they believe, can be found in the many mutually contradictory interests represented by several groups of member countries.

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