While the Continent is engaged in a tug-of-war with the second wave of the pandemic, European policy has been shaken by an historic event: the veto exercised by Hungary and Poland.
On November 16th, the two countries stood against the conditionality mechanism proposed by European Institutions, that is to bind the provision of the structural funds for 2021-27 to comply with the rule of law.
Budapest and Warsaw, by years champs of the most Eurosceptic side of the Union, thus broke the method of unanimity on a vital issue.
The European Parliament already stated its unavailability to negotiate the terms of the rule of law with the two countries. Thus, the European Union is entering a terra incognita driven by a crisis arisen around non-negotiable principles, such as those of civil liberties and personal rights.
The two rebel countries, with their veto, are imposing a minimalist vision of Europe: the EU must guarantee the free market, free movement of goods and people, development, but must not interfere with the democratic status of individual member states.
There is still scope for a political solution, but risks are high for all the players involved.
They are for Poland and Hungary, which being among the countries most affected by the second wave of coronavirus, in of need European funds, but also for the whole Union, which now more than ever needs to decide how to evolve.
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