Hungary's Orban wins parliament's backing in EU budget talks

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s nationalist government won parliamentary approval on Tuesday to press the European Union to distribute the bloc’s coronavirus economic rescue package without conditions attached on the rule of law.

FILE PHOTO: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks during a news conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic at the presidential building in Belgrade, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Serbia, May 15, 2020. REUTERS/Marko Djurica/File Photo

EU leaders meet this week to agree details of the bloc’s next budget and post-pandemic recovery. The EU is set to spend 750 billion euros ($850 billion) on economic recovery in member states hardest hit by the pandemic.

Some EU parties want the disbursement of EU funds to be tied to conditions on the rule of law, and Orban’s ruling Fidesz party has been suspended by the European People’s Party for disrespecting those principles.

Fidesz submitted a resolution last week saying financial resources from the EU should not be tied to “political or ideological conditions - under the label of rule of law.”

The resolution also said citizens of poorer EU countries should receive less money than those in richer states.

“(EU leaders) want to tie the disbursement of these monies to a mandate of meeting the political expectations of the EU’s increasingly aggressive globalist, pro-immigration, anti-family and anti-nationalist elite,” Parliamentary Speaker Laszlo Kover said.

Kover, an Orban ally, said parliament “will never accept any political conditions for the recovery package.”

Orban has reserved the right to veto the deal as a last resort.

The government did not legally require parliament’s support but Orban wanted a show of unity over Hungary’s stance.

The resolution also said EU proceedings against Hungary and Poland for flouting democratic rules “must be closed” before the EU budget and rescue plan are approved.

Bence Tordai, a member of the opposition Parbeszed party, said Fidesz’s proposal amounted to “blackmailing other EU member states” to let Fidesz do whatever it wants in Hungary.

Reporting by Anita Komuves, Writing by Marton Dunai, Editing by Timothy Heritage