Rule of law and the general regime of conditionality for the protection of the Union budget

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Ms Angela Merkel, Chancellor

Dear Chancellor Merkel,

On November 16, two EU member states blocked the adoption of the Multi‐Annual Financial Framework (MFF) and the COVID‐19 Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) in an attempt to prevent the adoption of conditionalities for the protection of the EU budget from breaches of the principles of the rule of law. This move has created a grave political crisis for the European Union.

Governments and EU institutions have a responsibility to act to address the economic damage caused by COVID‐19 and facilitate a swift recovery for the economy of the Union. But they also have a responsibility to uphold the values enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty, including the rule of law, and to ensure that breaches to these principles do not affect the Union budget.

We, therefore, urge you not to reopen, delay or weaken the implementation of the proposed regulation on conditionality following the pressure from leaders that refuse to uphold and enforce Europe’s rule of law values – even if it means delinking the adoption of the conditionality regulation from the EU budget or by‐passing the current threat of veto. The current Article 7 procedures, aimed at safeguarding the EU’s fundamental values, underway on Hungary and Poland, must also not be used as bargaining chips.