Members state across the European Union should only receive money from EU’s long-budget and the Coronavirus recovery fund if they have strong courts and robust measures against corruption, said Vera Jourova, Commissioner for Values and Transparency.

“The rule of law should be a precondition for the distribution of EU money,” Jourova said on Monday, ahead of a meeting with the bloc’s justice ministers, with Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders also joining the discussions.

She added that having a “functional justice” and strong anti-corruption mechanisms should be necessary preconditions.

Jourova’s remarks were a warning to Poland and Hungary and echoed a EU lawmakers’ call for immediate action by the EU institutions, to protect the Union’s fundamental values amid increasing violations of the rule of law in Poland.

Several member-states insist that having a functioning rule of law system, upholding democratic standards and conducting economic reforms should among the conditions for the disbursement of EU funds, and ask for safeguards against Poland’s and Hungary’s violations of core EU values.

In May, the EU Commission published a draft recommendations text supporting that corruption, accountability and inequalities in Hungary are the prominent areas in need of improvement, as they could further deteriorate during a state of danger.

“Corruption, access to public information and media freedom caused concerns even before the crisis,” reads the Commission’s recommendations on Hungary, adding that “investigation and prosecution appears less effective” in the country than in other Member States, while “determined systematic action to prosecute high-level corruption is lacking.”

EU leaders are scheduled to meet next week during an extraordinary summit to conclude on the Commission’s proposed €750 bln Coronavirus recovery package and the around €1.1 trl Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, that will kickstart the bloc’s economy after the pandemic.

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