Hungary, European Union, Poland discussed on BBC World Service
It was quite amazing during this pandemic, isn't it? And 11? Does you know whether this is actually going to continue given that we know that in some parts of the continent numbers and now spiking, you know, what would that mean to these construction jobs? I think I would hate to hate to guess at the moment. I mean, I'd hate to be in the Treasury or the finance Department of an African country at the moment and you're having to juggle your having to go to people like me. I m f World Bank, saying either give us some more to find pay back. The loans we've already taken will give us more money on having to say how much we spend on health care. How much do we spend on homes? And you, thank you very much indeed. And you would who's speaking there to his namesake androgen Ponder who is the chief executive shelter? A freak? Brussels. Now the row of that you used budget on in particular €1.8 trillion budget and also a Corona virus Crisis Recovery package, which is linked to that European Commission president wants to link the fund to each member states respect for the rule of law, which has prompted an angry reaction from Poland and Hungary. Both countries are being investigated by the EU for backsliding on democratic standards. Is their ruling party's tightened their grip on the judiciary, media and other institutions to tell us more. We can speak now to Valerie Hopkins thieves in Europe correspondent fellow Natural Times Financial Times. Thanks very much for talking to us. Just remind Alice is a little bit What the U is demanding and why Poland and Hungary are unhappy with us. Well, good morning and thank you very much for having me so the U and Brussels and many member states in particular have watched a Szhang Guerry in Poland. Have been using some of the EU funds that they've been getting over the last decades and for for some corrupt practices, So I mean, this is not only Hungary and Poland, but but these two countries are the biggest net beneficiaries of the EU budget on differ. Both of the economy's its between four and 5% of the GDP and an annual basis. And so the U. Member states and Brussels have sought to Impose a some benchmarks for rule of law conditionality that all member states should meet once if they are to access these funds on and Hungary and Poland have said no, This is not what we signed up for. This is against the treaties there foundational charges of the EU and we oppose this, even though they say that we have no problems with rule of law at home, and you are targeting us in a political manner. Mm. Is this a knish? You then off a couple of countries really falling out of step with Europe because this has the potential to hold up huge amounts of things. The budget recovery funds for fur covered. This is a major issue for the European Union's the hole, isn't it? Indeed, I mean, as you said, it's Czar, budget and recovery package worth €1.8 Trillion, so that these both of these countries also need But also a lot of all of the other member states as Europe is in deep economic crisis, and the problem is to is is that it's raising a lot of concerns about the future of the EU. If to member states can block something as fundamental as important as this. You know, the member states are now scrambling for other ways to get around it. Do they adopt a recovery package with the other 25 members? Do they find other ways eventually Excuse me to cut across you. But wouldn't that go? Fundamentally quite across the idea of the Yuto exploded a couple of countries and just go with the rest? Indeed, Indeed, many of the people I talked to say that in a lot of ways, this is a bit more dangerous for the use cohesiveness than Brexit. For instance, because brings it wasn't changing. How that you is functioning internally, you know, But if the this pushes that you two try to decide things on an ad hoc basis going around some member states, with some feeling that they're left out, it could be dangerous. And the prime ministers of Poland on Hungary met yesterday in Budapest and Polish Prime Minister Margaret He did say yesterday. That also that this was very dangerous on but it could lead in the future to the blocks collapse. But I think that this is also a form of threatening and blackmail coming from Poland and Hungary, who want to have continued to have leeway to do whatever they want with EU funds. And they also be seeing the other way around blackmail from the part of the EU, trying to impose just one particular political viewpoint on on some his members who want to do things slightly differently. Well, I mean, it depends. If you view fundamental you values such as well of large transparency and accountability as as political blackmail. I mean, Hungary and Poland signed up when they joined the EU to support these you values which are in trying in the treaties and They say if they don't want to follow them, I think the you was gonna have a lot of soul searching to do about whether or not you know this. It should continue to Forman ever closer union, which is something that Hungary in in recent weeks has really Deny that that it wants or whether it's just more of an economic union Is this at heart, a political clash? The political elite disagreeing here? I know that A recent poll showed that more than 70% of Hungarians support tying you funding to respect for the rule of law. In fact, I'm so glad you raised this. I was just about to say the same thing. I mean, it's quite interesting that in his remarks yesterday, Prime Minister Orban was trying to make it very clear that that he was representing the will of the people and that and that, you know, he will not accept. Hungarians will not accept something they don't want being imposed on them. What, In fact, 70% of 72% of Hungarians are are very happy to see that and I think that's because you know, especially during the pandemic. They've seen what's happened in the last decade, where hospitals and other critical infrastructure did not receive the investment that they so sorely needed and wanted, So it's going to be very interesting to see how this plays out domestically, but it's also going to be quite difficult, considering that the government and the government supporters control so much of the Public and private media and hungry, fascinating stuff. Valerie Hawkins, Eastern Europe correspondent for the Financial Times, there. I'm James. We've been getting a lot of comments. Well, a couple of them that they're clearly hear about. You know, we made a call out asking people in the United States to tell us what they think about traveling over the Thanksgiving period. Given that, you know, they have been health warning, saying people if they can should stay at home, not travel on somebody who's in New Orleans. We didn't give a name unfortunate that I spent the day off and evening working in a restaurant in New Orleans on Thanksgiving. It was a mate. Amazing the number of people from outside of the city that came to dying, some who traveled because of how inexpensive it wants to do so the masking habits or lack off has been astonishing on adding. We were one of the first epicenters in March that says as we were hearing element bull talking to a number of people who was saying that they were still willing to travel despite the warnings, and there's somebody I don't know if you can see this coming from Oscar You know, trudging. She's responded, Yeah, finally, really unthinkable to hear from some Americans. Oscar says that they will do nothing different this Thanksgiving and traveling congregate as usual. Please consider others and do the needful. People are dying, Oscar says. Yes And it comes is there's a warning here in the UK that has just been given by one of the health advisors to the Prime minister. Boys. Johnson, That was professor with you who told Children during this Christmas period that soon to come that when they go home, they should please not hug their grandparents or people who are vulnerable because of the threats. Against people's health. So we'd love to hear from you comments to me What you think about that? Plus 4 +47786 2050.