Veto of individual EU member states ‘must go’: Germany

Berlin   –  Germany’s foreign minister said Monday that the right for individual EU member states to veto decisions must be scrapped, arguing that the 27-member bloc cannot be hamstrung by single hold-outs. “We can no longer be held hostage by those who paralyse European foreign policy through their vetoes,” Heiko Maas said, accusing those doing so of “playing with Europe’s cohesion”. “I therefore say quite openly: the veto must go — even if that means we too can be outvoted.”

Maas did not name names, but Hungary had recently blocked EU foreign policy statements.

Apparently exasperated by Budapest’s stance, the junior minister at Germany’s foreign ministry, Miguel Berger, had called out Hungary on Twitter last week. “Hungary again blocked an EU-Statement on #Hongkong. Three weeks ago it was on Middle East. Common Foreign and Security Policy #CFSP cannot work on the basis of a blocking policy. We need a serious debate on ways to manage dissent, including qualified majority voting,” Berger wrote. In a public row in mid-May, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto slammed the EU’s “one-sided” statements on Israel as his European counterparts called for a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians.

Hungary and Poland had also threatened to veto the recovery fund last year along with the entire EU budget over proposals to link some fund payments to rule-of-law conditions, describing it as “political blackmail”.

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