BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – The Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša has announced his support of Hungary and Poland in their standoff against the EU after the two Central European nations followed through on their threat to veto the EU’s historic €1.8tn budget over a clause that ties funding with adherence to the rule-of-law.
“Only an independent judiciary can say what the rule-of-law is, not a political majority”, wrote Janez Janša in a letter sent on November 17 to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.
In this four-page letter, the Slovenian Prime Minister, a close friend of Viktor Orbán, denounces “a double standard”, and evokes the authoritarian experience lived under communism by many countries which joined the European Union after 2004, which today refuse to cede parts of their sovereignty.
Unlike Hungary and Poland, Slovenia did not veto the adoption of the massive budget, which includes €750bn for a COVID recovery fund, during a meeting of representatives of the countries of the EU on Monday.
Needing a unanimous vote from all 27 members in order to pass the bloc’s seven-year budget and recovery package, ambassadors were thus unable to endorse the massive financial plan aimed at rebuilding Europe’s shattered economy.
The veto is likely to delay the delivery of the much-needed rescue package.
German ambassador Michael Clauss, who chaired the meeting, warned that the EU would face “a serious crisis” if the financial package was not quickly adopted and delivered. “We have already lost a lot of time in view of the second pandemic wave and the severe economic damage,” he added.
Budapest and Warsaw, who have long been at odds with the EU over the issue of declining democratic norms, are stauchly opposed to the clause that could see them lose billions in EU subsidies should they continue with policies seen as eroding democracy.
The two countries are currently under investigation for undermining the independence of courts, media and non-governmental organisations.