Hungary, Poland threat exclusion from the EU restoration fund: French minister

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Weekly Cabinet Meeting in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) – The European Union will exclude Poland and Hungary from its stimulus program if the two countries continue to oppose efforts to tie the € 1.8 trillion disbursement of funds to rule of law, a French cabinet minister said.

EU Minister Clement Beaune said such a step would be legally complex but possible.

“Our position is clear: we will not sacrifice restoration or the rule of law,” Beaune told the Journal du Dimanche. “It is not a question of reviewing the mechanism that links the two.”

Hungary and Poland have for weeks blocked the release of funds from the EU’s seven-year budget and a post-COVID-19 development fund that is badly needed by member states to come out of their coronavirus-induced recession.

Beaune said the two eastern members of the bloc would lose billions of euros in funding if they dig their heels in.

“It is not a threat but a direct result of the lack of a new budget if they maintain their veto on the package,” he said.

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