The European Commission has announced the political bloc’s latest budget, an increase to €1.25 trillion, and has included a new clause to deny access to funds for states judged to be not “respecting the rule of law”.
The seven-year budget was announced Wednesday afternoon by the European Commission and was welcomed by europhile MEP Guy Verhofstadt who wrote on Twitter, “The #EUbudget must apply conditionality: if a Government rejects #EUvalues, they shouldn’t be the largest beneficiaries of EU money either.”
Verhofstadt singled out Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in his remark saying: “European money should benefit our economies & citizens, not be used to enrich Orbán’s family or finance football stadia in his constituency.”
The new section that would limit funds to countries like Poland, which the EU has slammed for its attempts at recent judicial reform, and others like Hungary who have come into conflict with Brussels over both the migrant redistribution programme and over the influence of left-wing billionaire George Soros and his vast network of NGOs.
Earlier this week, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz commented on the changes saying: “We see this as an intention to exert pressure on some states, as political pressure before talks. For this reason we have a very negative opinion about these ideas.”
Poland Slams EU Funding Change Which Would Deprive Patriotic, Low Immigration Nations of Cash https://t.co/6YVoec8K27
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 1, 2018
According to the European Commission, “the purpose of the new rules (a Regulation) proposed today is to strengthen the EU budget and to protect it from financial risks linked to generalised deficiencies in the rule of law”.
“The new proposed rules would allow the Union to suspend, reduce or restrict access to EU funding in a manner proportionate to the nature, gravity and scope of the rule of law deficiencies,” the Commission added.
The change comes after months of conflict between Brussels and the Central European countries which has so far seen the EU invoke Article 7 on Poland which could strip the country of its EU voting rights.
In November, four major European political figures also called on the EU to limit funds sent to Hungary following Prime Minister Orbán’s campaign against the influence of George Soros. Two of the four signatories were directly linked to George Soros through the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) which was created by Soros and receives money from his Open Society Foundations.