May 14, 2018 / 2:14 PM / 2 months ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Hungary, Poland say hold similar position on new EU budget

(Corrects spelling mistake in Orban’s name in 2nd paragraph)

By Pawel Sobczak and Marcin Goettig

WARSAW, May 14 (Reuters) - Hungary and Poland hold similar positions on the European Union’s new budget and oppose cutting funds for the common agricultural policy, the two prime ministers said on Monday.

“I just want to mention two principles, in which I believe we have agreement. The first is that we want to protect the interests of our farmers. So we do not think it is appropriate to reduce the agricultural budget,” Hungary’s Viktor Orban said.

“We also agreed that we have no objections to setting up new funds, as there are always new tasks. But the creation of new funds should not be a justification for the reduction of existing funds that have been functioning well,” Orban said.

Orban won a third four-year term in April and is on his first foreign policy visit to Warsaw to meet his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki.

Morawiecki said the two countries had “absolutely identical” positions on compensating budget losses due to Britain’s exit from the European Union and on the common agricultural policy.

Poland and Hungary are allies in their clashes with the European Commission over judicial independence and media freedom and also hold a common stance on migration.

Poland is the biggest beneficiary in the 28-member bloc of EU aid, which is used by the country to upgrade its infrastructure and support innovation.

The European Union said this month it aims to cut funds to member states that undermine judicial independence, a move that could cost Hungary and Poland millions of euros. Neither Orban or Morawiecki commented on this EU plan on Monday.

Hungary says it would not agree with any proposal that would provide the potential for blackmail of anyone with regard to the payment of EU funds based on the treaties. (Reporting by Pawel Sobczak; Additional reporting in WARSAW by Anna Koper and in BUDAPEST by Krisztina ThanWriting by Marcin GoettigEditing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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