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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said German Chancellor Angela Merkel was “brilliant” for the way she resolved a dispute over the European Union’s $2.2 trillion budget and stimulus package, in an interview in Welt am Sonntag.
Germany brokered thecompromise that led Hungary and Poland to drop a threat to veto the plan, which would make payments to EU members conditional on their adherence to the rule of law. Orban has kept his opponents in check with methods that the EU has deemed incompatible with the bloc’s democratic norms.
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With the region in dire need of the EU stimulus package to cope with a new wave of coronavirus infections, Budapest and Warsaw extracted a concession that will delay the rollout of the rule-of-law mechanism.
Orban told the German Sunday paper that Merkel had made it clear the mechanism should be subordinate to EU treaty law, which he saw as a “a victory of reason.” The original terms of the package lacked an “objective” legal definition regarding the rule of law, Orban said.
The European Parliament’s conservative European People’s Party bloc suspended Hungary’s Fidesz party last year after Orban was accused of disrupting freedom of the press and the rule of law. Those allegations are “ridiculous,” Orban told the newspaper.
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