Western Balkans citizens legally resident in EU equal to 14% of region’s population
International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has stripped Belarus of the right to hold the World Championship this year
Alexei Navalny arrested on arrival as he returns home
LONG READ: The oligarch problem
Russia’s grain harvest may fall to 131mn tonnes in 2021 from 133mn tonnes in 2020
ING: Russia balance of payments: supportive of ruble in the near-term, but risks for 2H21 mount.
Jailed Russian opposition activist Navalny drops Putin corruption investigation bomb on his second day home
Russian opposition activist Navalny calls for supporters to take to the streets this weekend
Western Balkans and Ukraine urged to scrutinise coal subsidies
Oligarchs trying to derail Ukraine’s privatisation programme, warns the head of Ukraine’s State Property Fund
Private finance mobilised by development banks up 9% to $175bn in 2019
VISEGRAD BLOG: Central Europe's populists need a new strategy for Biden
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
OUTLOOK 2021 Czechia
Hungarian vehicle makers hit by supply chain shortage
COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Poland
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
BALKAN BLOG: US approach to switch from quick-fix dealmaking to experience and cooperation
Corona-induced slump in global clothing sector dragged down Albania’s 2020 exports
BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
Turnover rose on Bosnia's two stock exchanges in 2020 while prices fell
Bulgaria’s government considers gradual easing of COVID-related restrictions
Sofia-based LAUNCHub Ventures holds first close of new fund on €44mn
ING: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
Heavy flooding causes chaos in parts of Southeast Europe
Spring lockdown caused spike in online transactions in Croatia
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
EBRD investments reach record €11bn in pandemic-struck 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Moldova
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Montenegrins say state administration is most corrupt institution
North Macedonia plans to cut personal income tax in IT sector to zero in 2023
OUTLOOK 2021 Romania
Romania’s central bank cuts monetary policy rate by 25bp to 1.25%
Romanian construction companies' activity slows in November after intense 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovenia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
Slovenia’s government to release funds to news agency STA after EU pressure
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
Turkish lira breaches HSBC’s stop-loss, Turkey ETF signalling outflows
ISTANBUL BLOG: Biden must find a way to work with Trump’s strongman pal Erdogan
Turkcell denies any affiliation with $1.6bn loan in default extended by Ziraat Bank to Virgin Islands company
CAUCASUS BLOG : What can Biden offer the Caucasus and Stans, all but forgotten about by Trump?
Armenia ‘to extend life of its 1970s Metsamor nuclear power plant after 2026’
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
No US move to rejoin Iran nuclear deal imminent say Biden national security nominees
TEHRAN BLOG: Will Biden bet on a quick return to the Iran nuclear deal?
Tehran Stock Exchange chief quits amid “Black Monday” fury
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
Download the pdf version
Hungary insists that the issue of the EU budget and the recovery fund must be separated from rule of law issues, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on December 3, adding that Poland's plans to attach an explanatory memorandum to the rule of law regulation won't work for Hungary.
His comments came a few hours after Warsaw signalled willingness to back down from vetoing the EU’s €1.8 trillion financial package that could end the impasse. A compromise by Poland would leave Hungary's strongman completely isolated.
Warsaw cannot back down on the veto unilaterally, Orban said, referring to an agreement signed last week with Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki. At a meeting in Budapest, the two leaders agreed that their governments will take the same position in the debate and neither country will adopt proposals that are not beneficial and not supported by the other, he said.
Orban and Morawiecki struck an uncompromising tone on rejecting linking EU funds to political conditions. In a joint statement, they said that attaching rule of law criteria to EU funds could be used as political pressure. This could threaten the EU’s future and lead to the disintegration of the EU, Morawiecki warned, while Orban said that his government's position is rock-solid on the issue.
This harsh rhetoric eased somewhat during the two leaders' meeting in Warsaw on November 30. Morawiecki and Orban said they were waiting for proposals by the European Union’s German presidency concerning the bloc’s next budget.
In the Friday interview, when asked about whether Hungary had received any proposals from German leaders, Orban did not provide a clear answer, and he voiced his disapproval of the Polish plans to back down from the veto.
"The explanatory memorandum Poland wants to be attached to the rule of law regulation won't work for Hungary," he stressed.
On Thursday night Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin said Poland would ready to drop plans to veto the €1.8bn EU budget and recovery fund if EU leaders endorse an explanatory declaration on the link between EU funds and the rule of law.
An interpretative declaration could be a clear statement from the European Council that the conditionality rule would not be used to exert unjustified pressure on individual member states in areas other than the proper use of EU funds, he said.
EU leaders are working on plans to proceed with the €750bn recovery fund without Hungary's and Poland's support if they continue to block Europe’s upcoming budget. The two countries would risk losing money from the recovery fund, if they blocked an agreement, said Johannes Hahn, EU budget commissioner, on Thursday.
Poland and Hungary are the two largest net beneficiaries of EU funds from the next budget. The two countries stand to receive at least €180bn in grants between them over the next seven years from the budget and recovery fund, according to Bloomberg calculations.
The stand-off over the budget is set to dominate a Brussels leaders’ summit scheduled for Thursday and Friday next week.
Unless there is an agreement at the EU summit on December 10-11, a contingency payment system with a provisional budget will come into force.
Hungary's strongman, who recently became the longest-serving prime minister in the country's history, said the whole political conditionality issue is about forcing immigrants to Europe and Hungary. Orban has repeatedly used this argument that the conflict between Brussels and Hungary is about forcing different cultural values onto sovereign countries, like Hungary.
"We know what the game is about," he said. The government claims that Hungary became the target of EU rule of law procedures, such as Article 7, solely because the country staunchly opposes Brussels’ migration policies.
Resorting to his populist rhetoric, Orban recalled that the EU wants to give citizenship and voting rights to 34mn migrants, calling this the "Soros Plan itself".
"And it is evident that they would vote for left-wing parties that brought them in,” he added.
The EU’s new Action Plan for Integration and Inclusion unveiled in late November aims to promote the integration of 34mn people born outside the EU, or 8% of the EU's population. The action plan is non-binding, meaning that member states do not legally have to implement the Commission’s plans, but this was not mentioned by Orban.
Hungary's illiberal leader has tried to play down the criticism surrounding the deterioration of democratic values in Hungary by calling rule of law regulations as legally vague definitions, based on hazy concepts, which in his views create opportunities for political abuses.
here to continue reading this article
and 5 more for free or purchase
12 months full website access including
the bne Magazine for just $250/year.
Register to read the bne monthly magazine for
Password could contain only
and have 8-20 symbols length.
Please complete your registration by confirming your
A confirmation email has been sent to the email
address you provided.
can't be empty.
No user with
this email address.
Access recovery request has expired, or you are using
the wrong recovery token. Please, try again.
Access recover request has expired.
Please, try again.
To continue viewing our content you need to complete
the registration process.
Please look for an email that was sent to
with the subject line
"Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have
instructions on how to complete registration
process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in
case this communication was misdirected in your
If you have any questions please contact us at email@example.com
Sorry, but you have used all your free articles fro
this month for bne IntelliNews. Subscribe
to continue reading for only $119 per year.
Your subscription includes:
For the meantime we are also offering a free
digital weekly newspaper to subscribers to
the online package.
Click here for more subscription options,
including to the print version of our
flagship monthly magazine:
Take a trial to our premium daily news
service aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging
For any other enquiries about our
products or corporate discounts please
contact us at
If you no longer wish to receive
Magazine annual print
Website & Archive
Combined package: web
access & magazine print
Take a trial to our premium daily news service
aimed at professional investors that
covers the 30 countries of emerging Europe: