Brussels looks for ways to push ahead with recovery fund without Hungary and Poland

Brussels is considering ways to push ahead with the creation of the EU’s Covid-19 recovery fund without the participation of Hungary and Poland, a senior commission official has said, piling pressure on the two countries to drop their veto over the union’s upcoming budget.

The official said the EU’s 25 member states could proceed with setting up an envisaged €750bn recovery fund next year to act as a “bridge” until Hungary and Poland drop a veto over the bloc’s overall €1.8tn budget and recovery package.

The senior EU official said the move “would replicate the effects of the original package as it is currently designed”.

EU diplomats and officials are scrambling to find solutions to the budget impasse to keep money flowing to countries hardest hit by the pandemic, two weeks after Poland and Hungary exercised their veto in protest at a rule of law condition that ties payments to compliance with EU values.

Warsaw and Budapest have reaffirmed their staunch position, rejecting the mechanism that they say targets their countries.

The fact that the commission is contemplating this fallback option highlights how serious the stand-off has become and officials’ determination to prevent Warsaw and Budapest from derailing the EU’s post-Covid recovery project.

Diplomats hope Hungary and Poland can be convinced to drop their objections and throw their weight behind the recovery fund that was agreed by all member states in a July summit.

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