Insight

Hungary and Poland are bluffing

Threatening to veto the EU budget over a mechanism that will tie funding to respect for the rule of law, Hungary and Poland are seeking a concession, not to commit collective self-harm.

The EU budget package remains likely to be adopted before the end of the year. Pressure is mounting on Hungary and Poland from Germany – and, in Poland’s case, from the country’s governing coalition itself.

In EU compromises, no-one ever loses face. Poland and Hungary are likely to be saved from this by a minor concession on the rule of law mechanism. This could be an annex to the original agreement detailing the exact scenarios in which EU funding may be withdrawn, assuring Poland and Hungary that, on the one hand, the mechanism is in line with the treaties and, on the other, that it is sufficiently difficult to set in motion.

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