Warsaw, Budapest mayors criticise vetoes of EU budget

FILE PHOTO: Mayor of Warsaw and presidential candidate of the main opposition Civic Platform (PO) party Rafal Trzaskowski speaks during a news conference following the presidential election in Warsaw, Poland, July 13, 2020. Maciek Jazwiecki/Agencja Gazeta via REUTERS

WARSAW (Reuters) - The Mayors of Budapest and Warsaw criticised the Polish and Hungarian national governments for vetoing the EU budget and COVID-19 recovery fund, and said the EU should cooperate directly with regions of member countries.

Hungary and Poland blocked the adoption of the 2021-2027 budget and recovery fund last week over a clause making access to money conditional on respect for the rule of law.

The nationalist Polish and Hungarian governments both face formal EU investigations into whether they undermined the independence of courts, media and non-government bodies. They have long opposed a link between EU funds and such issues.

In a letter to the EU’s Committee of Regions, Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski and Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony accused their countries’ leaders of placing their “egotistical political interests” ahead of the EU’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. A copy of the letter was provided to Reuters by Trzaskowski’s office.

Trzaskowski, a member of Poland’s largest opposition group, the Civic Coalition, and the losing candidate in a presidential election this year, told a news conference on Tuesday: “We believe this veto is completely unjustifiable.”

“There is a clear stance (among regional governments) that is different from the ruling government,” he said, appearing alongside mayors from a number of smaller Polish towns.

Reporting by Joanna Plucinska