Covid recovery fund: a Gordian Knot?

The dispute over the EU budget from 2021 to 2027 and the associated corona recovery fund continues. The European Parliament has rejected a compromise proposal by Berlin, while Poland's Deputy Prime Minister Kaczyński has threatened to make use of the country's veto right. The sticking point: should countries that violate the rule of law criteria receive less funding? Not just this question gives commentators food for thought.

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Corriere della Sera (IT) /

We can't tear down a pillar of the EU

Giuliano Pisapia of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats defends the uncompromising stance of the EU Parliament in Corriere della Sera:

“The danger of a rupture between the European institutions is growing and becoming more concrete. But this danger can in no way be blamed on the European Parliament, which has done and is doing its duty, without forgetting that the rule of law is one of the pillars on which the EU is based. How credible can those who threaten economic sanctions against non-EU countries for not respecting democratic principles be, when at the same time they lack the power and courage to apply similar sanctions against those who form part of the 'European family'?”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Almost a crusade

Rzeczpospolita explains its view of how it has come to this:

“The negative - and not always fair - assessments of the political situation in Warsaw and Budapest, which have been much repeated in Western media over the years, convinced politicians in Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland and Denmark - and also members of the European Parliament - that they must lead a mission to defend democracy in Poland and Hungary. This has provoked harsh reactions in both capitals, including the threat of a veto voiced by Jarosław Kaczyński in an interview on Tuesday.”

Diário de Notícias (PT) /

Don't get left behind now

Diário de Notícias fears that with or without aid packages some countries will be left behind in the reconstruction effort:

“Countries that are more dependent on industries that will take longer to recover will have to spend more on cushioning the social impact of the crisis. And those with old weaknesses will take longer to make the leap that Europe wants to see in the green and digital transition. It's clear that in some countries, including Portugal, these two circumstances coincide. We have an economy that is more exposed to this crisis and we are less able to respond. We do not bear much responsibility for the first circumstance, but for the second we clearly do.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

An attack on the foundations of the EU

Kaczyński's threat should be taken seriously, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung believes:

“This is an attempt to weaken the very foundations of the EU with an explosive device, in a bid to relieve Poland of the obligation to respect the values and rules that have so far kept the EU together. If the other member states fail to resolutely oppose this attempt at blackmail, much more will be at stake in the medium and long term than just a budget. If the EU ever does collapse, it won't be because of Brussels' 'Eurocrats' but because of politicians like Kaczyński.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Wrong time to gamble

Linking the issues of the rule of law and recovery in the middle of a pandemic is playing with fire, La Vanguardia warns:

“The risk that a blockade of the major European reconstruction project could cause poverty and unemployment on the continent is too high. ... The EU has other mechanisms for exerting pressure that it could have used in the past or that it can still use in the future. This is not the time to mix these two things, because the economic and labour market situation is critical in many countries.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Heading for Polexit

The latest developments do not bode well for Poland, Gazeta Wyborcza fears:

“Putting Kaczyński's declaration into practice will result in a Polexit and a loss of funds for Poland. In the middle of the economic crisis we'll be left alone with our problems and - if Joe Biden wins the US election - with no geopolitical allies. The nightmare that we have been seeking to avoid for years will become a reality. This is a disaster for our country, especially faced with the second wave of the pandemic. For Kaczyński, hatred of LGBT people and the courts' dependence on the government weigh heavier than the fate of the Polish state and its people.”