The @EU_Commission is going to continue withholding Recovery Fund €bn from Pol & Hu & I suspect WILL activate new Rule of Law mechanism against them. Not because @vonderleyen is worried about @Europarl_EN taking her to court. But because it's in COM's own interests to do so 1/
The most imp reason is the creation of Recovery Fund & governance arrangements underpinning it. These have fundamentally altered @EU_Commission incentives. There's a recognition A LOT is riding on its successful implementation 2/
For eg: 1) whether something similar could be done in the future if EU was faced with another external shock. Or 2) whether EU fiscal rules can be substantially amended to give member states more time to repair their public finances & create budget space for green investments 3/
Conversely, there's a lot at stake if it all goes wrong. Senior EU officials think - big picture - if Recovery Fund implementation isn't perceived as a success in Northern Europe, it could set process of EU integration back by 10-15 years 4/
The @EU_Commission is in a particularly hot seat. They have to defend Budapest & Warsaw's reform/inv plans in Council & green light disbursements-initially €5bn for Pol & €1bn for Hu. Why would they do this w/out clear idea of where money is going & who will be spending it? 5/
The @EU_Commission already gets considerable grief for belief it's too soft enforcing EU treaties, especially on Stability & Growth Pact. So it has little incentive to stick its neck out for Pol & Hungary's demagogues & further destroy its own credibility w/Council (& EP) 6/
As Recovery Plans are based on Country Specific Recommendations - & these flag corruption (Hu) & judicial independence (Pol) - @EU_Commission can go after Orban & Kaczyński on these issues. Both will have to make genuine movement if they want €bn to flow 7/
The Rule of Law mechanism is just additional leverage @EU_Commission can bring to bear. Its legality is being challenged at ECJ, but as an EU regulation @EU_Commission can implement it (only remedial sanctions would have to wait for ECJ’s final word). Suspect they will & soon 8/
Overall, there's a view that Pol & Hu need to be put back “on a path to compliance”. Talk of “sovereignty”, “different histories” & “values” is rightly dismissed as a ruse. Within the College, there is no majority in favour of an easy/dirty compromise this time around 9/
At the margin pressure from @Europarl_EN & changing mood music in Berlin (“Merkel let situation in CEE get out of control, we need to course correct” etc) helps. But @EU_Commission has its own internal reasons for demanding reform/transparency from Pol & Hu like never before ENDS

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