Lithuania's strongly in favor of rule of law when distributing EU funds – president

  • 2020-07-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuania is strongly in favor of adhering to the principle of the rule of law when distributing EU funds, the country's President Gitanas Nauseda said on Tuesday upon his return from the recent EU summit.

"We are among the ones who are in favor, are strongly in favor, of the principle of the rule of law to be strictly applied to everyone," the head of state told journalists at Vilnius Airport on Tuesday.

Following more than four days of negotiations in Brussels, EU leaders agreed on an economic recovery fund worth 750 billion euros as well as on the EU budget for 2021–2027, worth more than one trillion euros.

Much of the wrangling during the negotiations was related to Western Europeans' wish for the distribution of funds to be linked to the way how states follow the principles of the rule of law. Being in dispute with Brussels, the Hungarian and Polish governments were the strongest opponents to that.

In the final conclusions, the European Council "underlines the importance of the respect of the rule of law" and agreed to set conditions to protect the budget and the new recovery plan.

"In this context, the Commission will propose measures in case of breaches for adoption by the Council by qualified majority," the long-coordinated conclusions read.

Adherence to the principle of the rule of law must be controlled, Nauseda said, to ensure that member states transparently use European funds.

"The principle of the rule of law and transparent use of funds are one of the key priorities for Europe," the Lithuanian president said.

"Lithuania's position was principled," Nauseda said, asked about Lithuania's position. "Although today we are raising this issue in the context of Poland and Hungary, such a thing might arise in any EU state," he added.

In his words, "certain dependence or certain accountability" is needed to ensure transparent use of funds.

"This is taxpayers' money brought in by people from all EU states," Nauseda said.