EU funding conditionality brings Romania closer to Poland

On 1 February, Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Meleșcanu stated that linking EU funds access to the state of rule of law constitutes a violation of the principles of solidarity and convergence enshrined in the EU Treaties. The battle for the 2021-2027 EU budget brings Romania closer to both Poland and Hungary, who have already agreed to coordinate their actions before the next Heads of State-level meeting scheduled for 23 February.

European Commission plans to condition not only access to cohesion funds, but also to the EU's multi-annual budget on the state of rule of law in member countries – which could be constantly monitored starting in 2018 – as proposed by the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. Such a development would mainly target Poland, which currently faces the provisions of  Article 7.1. However, the Romanian government also has reason for concern due to its unconstitutional push to amend judicial laws and penal procedures which decriminalises high-level corruption, amounting to a coup against the judiciary branch. After Austria, Romania is the second country to gravitate towards V4, a move probably welcomed by Poland with whom it shares a common intransigence against Russia's revisionist policies – an approach otherwise not very popular with the rest of the V4.

About author: Giada Negri

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