The European Union blackmailed by Poland and Hungary

Unconditional admission of countries not accustomed to the rule of law risks blocking economic aid against the pandemic in Europe. If the problem is not to choose between economics and health, with all that entails, similarly, one should not choose between economics and law. On the contrary, the strategy implemented by the states of the Visegrad Pact seems to contradict this second assumption. The will to block economic aid for the countries most affected by the virus, if not in exchange for a relaxation of monitoring measures on the application and validity of the rule of law. This crisis in the headquarters of the European institutions could have negative effects, directly on the states affected by the pandemic, but which could not fail to have repercussions from an even greater contraction of the economy; it should be remembered that the revenues from the contributions of the Union are an important chapter of the budget items of the states that belonged to the Warsaw Pact. It is clear that the strategy of the eastern countries is characterized by an element of political myopia and a vision on the medium and long term. Despite this evidence, the rigid positions of the executives of Poland and Hungary, in particular, do not seem to present negotiation possibilities. At the institutional level, the clash is between the European Parliament and the Council of the Union and the negotiations are already slowing down the distribution of funds with the most optimistic forecasts that say that before the end of October the agreement will not be reached, with the direct consequence of the possibility of postponing the entry into force of the new budgets beyond 1 January next year. Politically, Germany’s position appears very delicate, because it must mediate between the needs of the eurozone economy and those of the application of the rule of law throughout the territory of the Union and a failure in the face of a mechanism defended by Berlin would mean a weakening of the German leadership. The European Commission also enters the institutional dialogue as mediator between Parliament and the Council, but the main parliamentary groups, popular, socialist, liberal and green, share the commitment not to approve the financial plan until there is an agreement on the monitoring of the application of the rule of law. The game of European funds concerns the recovery fund, which has an endowment of 750,000 million euros. It is understandable that the threat of non-ratification in some parliaments of these provisions on economic aid, without a review of the monitoring of the rule of law, represents a blackmail that jeopardizes the very survival of Europe; were it not for the financial repercussions on those countries reluctant to approve it, this strategy might seem to have been built as a special plan to cause major problems for the European institutional framework. It must be remembered that Parliament is requesting that the possibility of cutting funds be extended beyond the mismanagement of resources, in order to finally cover the violation of fundamental rights of the Union. Parliament sees in the current German attitude, qualified as hesitant, the main obstacle to achieving this objective, because Germany’s activity as current president does not seem entirely determined to reach the necessary consensus in the Council. However, despite the highly problematic aspects of the situation, the positive thing is that a climate is being created that goes beyond good intentions to assume a practical and political character in the European institutions, to affirm the fundamental importance of the founding principles of Europe. This represents a starting point for those who want to enforce the law and do not want to surrender to compromise solutions in the name of the economy. For now, however, the German position is notable for a lack of determination that questions its real intentions in the face of economic interests, with the feeling of preferring the latter. The need for a strong and determined stance on the part of the largest European shareholder is, on the other hand, an imperative need within the current debate, which cannot fail to have an even more severe result than the simple reduction of contributions, to reach up to to the expulsion of those who use Europe only to obtain financing without respecting the obligations towards other countries and the right within them, because this is incompatible with the permanence in the European institutions.