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European Parliament President David Sassoli has lashed out at Poland and Hungary after the two nations continue to veto financial measures worth more than £2trillion for the EU27. Budapest and Warsaw have refused to sign up to the bloc’s £1.6tn (€1.8tn) seven-year budget, as well as the £671bn (€750bn) coronavirus recovery fund after the EU insist the package is conditional on respecting the rule of law.
The two member states remain under EU investigation for undermining the independence of courts, media and non-governmental organisations and with the condition in place they risk losing access billions of pounds.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Sassoli stated there is no plan B in place and warned the two countries could “jeopardise” the economic future of the entire bloc.
He said: “This is the agreement. “
The European Parliament President added: “If that’s not the case, there isn’t a Plan B.
“Work would have to again start from Square one… obviously this would compromise and jeopardise the ability of the EU to recover.”
Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa also took part in the briefing and warned the EU could be at a standstill if there is no agreement between all 27 member states.
He said: “We have our Plan A. The next European Council has to approve the necessary mechanisms so that by January 1 we can have an EU which has its budget for 2021.
“If not we will be paralysing activity across the EU.”
Further discussions are set to take place at the EU Council Summit next week but if a deal is not reached, it would be the first time in more than 30 years the bloc will enter a new year without a formal budget.
Senior officials in Brussels fear if there is not a unanimous agreement then the EU budget could be slashed by up to £27million (€30m) at a time when most of Europe is still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.
With time running out, it is understood the bloc could take drastic action and bypass Poland and Hungary with a deal for the remaining 25 EU member states.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte previously described this as one of the “nuclear options”.
One EU diplomat said: “For the time being things seem to be deadlocked.
“If there is no agreement with Poland and Hungary at leaders’ level next week, and things don’t look like moving, the other 25 member states will have to consider other options.
“No one wants to go down that route, but they may be left with no choice if Poland and Hungary don’t move.”
Earlier this week, Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki held talks and reiterated both sides remained open to negotiate with the EU.
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A Polish Government spokesman said: “We’re open to new proposals and we are convinced an agreement can be reached.
“But we stress that it has to be compliant with EU treaties and conclusions from the European Council meeting in July.”
EU leaders will hold a summit on December 10.
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