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'We'll find a solution': EU's Michel confident over COVID fund dispute

Brussels is still trying to iron out problems around linking coronavirus recovery money with respect for democracy and rule of law.

European leaders, after a marathon July summit, agreed that countries receiving EU funds must respect democratic principles.

But the exact language was vague and left room for interpretation.

Speaking to Dailyrater ahead of the Brussels Economic Forum on Tuesday, European Council President, Charles Michel, was optimistic that a resolution can be found.

“There is a link between the European budget and the funds devoted to the recovery and the rule of law,” he said.

“And now we are going to work with the European Parliament and the member states towards the operational implementation of that decision.

“This won’t be easy, as there are different interpretations on the table, but I’m totally convinced that we’ll find a solution.”

While European leaders have agreed on the coronavirus recovery funds, negotiations are underway to convince MEPs.

The chair of the European Parliament’s committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, said the fight against corruption is a litmus test for EU funds.

“There has to be a link between access to European budgeting and European funds with full commitment with rule of law and the fight against corruption – which is obviously an issue in Bulgaria,” MEP Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar said.

Bulgaria has been rocked by weeks of anti-government protests. Demonstrators have accused Prime Minister Boiko Borisov’s administration of corruption.

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