German Suddeutsche Zeitung declared the outcome of the European Council and the agreement on the budget and the coronavirus relief aid a victory for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the central-European countries he represented.
Orban fought a difficult fight with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who wanted a far smaller aid package, but also conditions placed on the distribution of aid to countries that don’t follow EU orders, such as Hungary and Poland.
In the end, the package was approved, and it’s much closer to the positions supported by Hungary and Poland, than those of the Netherlands. Orban gave a lengthy press conference in Brussels before the package was out, insisting that countries which fought to build a system of rule of law after the abuses of Communism, like Hungary, will not take lectures from others about their political system.
Suddeutsche Zeitung says that the “rule of law” requirements that the Dutch insisted on were watered down in the final decision, and are mentioned in passing, in just one sentence. Political opponents of Hungary and Poland in the EU initiated proceedings against the two countries, and are now dragging them out in an attempt to inflict maximum harm on their reputation. But, Suddeutsche Zeitung reports that at one point Germany and France realized that the package of urgently needed corona aid will not be adopted at the Council without the support of Poland and Hungary, especially after Orban said that he will sink the deal if the pressure on Hungary persists.
Hungary wants the rule of law procedure against it to be completed in a reasonable timeframe, and SD writes that Orban reached agreement with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that this will be done by the end of the year, and that Hungary will be satisfied with its outcome.