Visegrad Insight Breakfasts
27 February 2020
Countries of the region should get involved with negotiations to shape the next EU budget round – or end up outside a framework they did not help to design.
Central Europeans could be forgiven for focusing their attention on last week’s elections in Poland and Hungary, but if they do not lift their eyes to the horizon, they may end up the poorer, according to experts trying to shape the new EU budget before it is built.
Yes, that vast bulk looming in the distance is the “Multiannual Financial Framework” for the years 2021-2027 – but given that there will potentially be a smaller budget without the UK’s contributions, it is in Central Europeans’ interests to be involved in designing the structure, to avoid funds being diverted elsewhere.
The most striking proposal already put forward for negotiation originated in Germany, but has since been supported by other member states – that of making EU funds conditional on adhering to the rule of law. Such funds are a strong driver of growth in less developed parts of the EU, such as eastern Poland or eastern Hungary, and yet rule of law is the very problem in both of those countries.