The Hungarian and Polish governments “stepped back from the brink” in the last moment; “they could be hailing a victory but in fact they laid down their arms in Brussels”, the mayors of the two capitals said in a joint statement on Friday.
The prime ministers of the two countries “tried to thwart the (EU’s) rule of law mechanism, but it has come out unharmed”, Gergely Karácsony of Budapest, and Rafal Trzaskowski, his Polish counterpart, said in their statement.
The mayors said they trusted that the rule of law mechanism would be applied as soon as possible to “prevent systemic stealing of EU funds and attacks against the independence of the judiciary”.
Karácsony and Trzaskowski urged efforts against economic and social impacts of the epidemic financed from the EU’s Next Generation fund enabled by Thursday’s agreement.
According to the statement, the pandemic has the most detrimental impacts in cities.
“The war against the crisis must be fought in the cities,” the authors said, and called on the EU to ensure that national governments involve municipalities in each step of the planning and distribution processes concerning European recovery funds.