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EU Holds Covid Funds for Hungary, Poland in Rule-of-Law Dispute

Welcome to the Brussels Edition, Bloomberg’s daily briefing on what matters most in the heart of the European Union.

European affairs ministers will be briefed today about “significant developments” on the rule of law in Poland and Hungary. Ministers will discuss next steps in two procedures targeting the two member states which could lead to the suspension of their EU voting rights. The standoff means the disbursement of pandemic aid is unlikely this year, and French President Emmanuel Macron signaled in Budapest yesterday that Hungary may not see the money before April. Still, he left the door open, saying that a path of dialog and respect was needed to push forward the “existential” issue of adhering to the bloc’s democratic values. Poland’s government has tried to walk back warnings from Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro that his country could stop paying into the EU budget, but he’s refusing to meet conditions that would get the money flowing. His intransigence already led to a record 1 million-euro daily fine from the EU’s top court.