Next EU budget should be 'Marshall Plan' for Europe: Von der Leyen
European Commission head concerned over powers granted to Hungarian PM amid pandemic
The next EU budget should take the form of a new "Marshall Plan" to stoke Europe's recovery from the coronavirus crisis, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday.
"We know in this crisis that we need quick answers. We cannot take one, two or three years to invent news tools," she told a news conference, adding that the long-term budget, known as the multi-annual financial framework (MFF), was its strongest tool.
"We want to shape the MFF in such a way that it is a crucial part of our recovery plan," she said. "Many are calling right now for something, which is called this Marshall Plan. I think the European budget should be the Marshall Plan we are laying out together as a European Union for the European people."
The Marshall Plan was a U.S. aid program for Western Europe from 1948 to stimulate a recovery after the Second World War.
Concerns over Hungarian response
Von der Leyen also expressed concern that coronavirus restriction measures taken by Hungary went too far and insisted they should be limited in time and subject to scrutiny.
Hungary's parliament on Monday granted Prime Minister Viktor Orban an open-ended right to rule by decree and introduced jail sentences for anyone hindering measures to curb the spread of the virus or spreading false information about the pandemic.
"I am concerned that certain measures go too far and I am particularly concerned about the situation in Hungary," von der Leyen said during her news conference.
"These emergency measures have to be limited to what is necessary; they have to be strictly proportionate because they have to be adequate in this situation; they should not last indefinitely; and very importantly they should be subject to regular scrutiny."