Brussels MEPs are furious at Angela Merkel, saying she made a “mistake” by bowing to pressure from German industry lobbies. This comes after the EU backed down to demands from Hungary and Poland over Europe’s 1.8-trillion-euro budget and coronavirus recovery package. The two member states had blocked the budget amid anger at the prospect of linking access to the funds to respect for the rule of law.
Angela Merkel, who held the EU’s rotating presidency, is understood to have surrendered to the demands from Hungary and Poland.
Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld told France24 the German leader capitulated to pressure from the German car industry.
She explained: “I am a big fan of Angela Merkel but she is no infallible, she is human like the rest of us.
“I think as far as the Polish and Hungarian governments, she has made a mistake.”
The MEP continued: “In the case of Poland, it is because of historic relations.
“In the case of Hungary, it is German industry interest in Hungary.
“We have seen the reports of having the German car industry has very strong financial interests in Hungary, and they are interfering in this whole process.
“Viktor Orban also belongs to the same political family as Angela Merkel, which is why Orban has been able to destroy the rule of law in his country for so long.”
German finance minister Olaf Scholz said: “Today’s agreement shows that insight triumphs over egoism. With this financial package, Europe can emerge powerfully from the crisis.”
Budapest and Warsaw, which are both major recipients of EU budget finds, have been accused by Brussels of rolling back democratic freedom.
The hold-up had threatened to derail the next seven-year budget and the recovery fund, which is aimed at mitigating the economic consequences of the pandemic.
There had been speculation that the German car industry would similarly intervene in the case of Brexit but there has been little evidence of this to date.