Walk a Tightrope

Budapest In Search of an Acceptable Budget Compromise

5 December 2019

In protecting the success and the integrity of the Friends of Cohesion group, who favour similar levels of spending under the EU budget, the Hungarian government may need to give up its opposition to any rule of law conditionality.

Double standards, witch hunt, revenge. These are the most common expressions used about the plans of the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) in Budapest. Since the same words appear almost on a daily basis related to any criticism coming from the EU, only a few experts understand that this time the stakes are much higher.

Judit Varga

The Hungarian government promises to veto the next long-term budget of the EU. It would not be the first time. Recently, Budapest has blocked – with Warsaw – a conclusion on the evaluation of the annual rule of law dialogue among member states at a session of the EU’s General Affairs Council on 20 November. Justice Minister Judit Varga, also responsible for EU Affairs, suggested that the main concern of Hungary was the lack of the European Commission’s authority to link the results of this evaluation to the MFF negotiations.

Any compromise might be easier to achieve when parties also negotiate on budgetary issues, and possibly when the two questions will be linked as part of a package deal.

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Dániel Bartha

Executive Director of the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Democracy

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