EU row breaks out over 'ridiculous' plot to 'freeze' Ursula von der Leyen's salary

This week, the EU Commission will get the final sign-off required to slash funding to members like Hungary and Poland for flouting democratic standards. Warsaw and Budapest appealed against the rule of law mechanism in December 2020.

The rule of law allows the EU to reduce funding to countries where problems negatively affect European taxpayers’ money.

The Commission agreed to hold off until the EU Court of Justice ruled on a legal challenge to the authority from Hungary and Poland.

The EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, is facing increasing pressure from the EU Parliament after lawmakers called for quick action to slash funding.

Now, European parliamentarians are calling for tough action against Warsaw and Budapest and demand Ms von der Leyen and other Commission employees have their salaries frozen.

Moritz Körner, the budgetary spokesman for the FDP group in the EU Parliament, has demanded the funds for Ms von der Leyen and her cabinet are frozen during the budget deliberations for next year.

However, the plan to freeze her salary has sparked outrage in the Commission President’s party family.

Monika Hohlmeier (CSU), Chairwoman of the Budget Control Committee in the European Parliament, said: “The proposal to freeze money for the Commission President’s cabinet is ridiculous.

“That is not legally possible.

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“Hungary and Poland will sue immediately if the Commission applies it, and the Commission must not lose these court cases.

“Otherwise the whole mechanism would be permanently damaged and it would become all the more difficult to use it again.”

Poland and Hungary have been at odds with the EU Commission over issues ranging from LGBTQ+ rights to judicial independence.

Over the weekend, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hinted his country may leave the European Union.

In a speech to supporters in Budapest on Saturday, the right-wing politician called for the EU to show “tolerance” towards Hungary.

In March last year, Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, brought the legal challenge.

Poland rejected the principle of the primacy of EU law over national legislation in certain judicial matters.

This marked the first time in the history of the 27-strong EU bloc that a leader of a member state had questioned wholesale EU treaties in a constitutional court, the BBC reported.

Mr Morawiecki wanted to prevent Polish judges from using EU law to question the legitimacy of judges following recent changes to the judiciary.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg