The European Union may finally agree on its financial package comprising a COVID-19 support fund and the bloc's next long-term budget before the December summit of the EU leaders, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday
BERLIN (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 24th November, 2020) The European Union may finally agree on its financial package comprising a COVID-19 support fund and the bloc's next long-term budget before the December summit of the EU leaders, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday.
"I am confident that due to a huge pressure that exists, it will be possible to reach a solution on this issue before the European Council's December summit ... I am sure that everyone is aware of the responsibility and will help to reach a solution in the coming days," Maas said at a forum.
He added that "difficult negotiations" were underway on this issue in a closed format.
The financial package comprising the 750 billion euro ($889 billion) COVID-19 support fund and the bloc's next seven-year budget was agreed between the European Parliament and the European Council on November 10. For the first time in its history, the EU will have a specific mechanism to protect the funds against "breaches of the rule of law," a decision negotiated on November 5.
Earlier in November, Poland and Hungary vetoed the long-term EU budget, as well as the coronavirus recovery package, disagreeing with the budget law clause that ties the availability of the money to the rule of law and respect for democratic standards in recipient countries. Both countries are under the formal EU process over concerns for judicial independence there.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that Hungary had vetoed the European Union's budgetary package because it makes the access to shared funds conditional upon support of immigration which Brussels has long tried to pass off as commitment to "the rule of law."
The budget and the recovery package require the unanimous support of the EU member states. The EU leaders now have just weeks to agree on the budget, as it is set to enter into force in January and member states urgently need the funds to overcome the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.