As Europe battles a resurgent virus crisis, the EU has a plan.
It’s set out a budget for the coming years and an additional recovery fund.
Together the two would see spending of 1.8 trillion euros - or about 2.1 trillion dollars.
The only problem is, it’s all been vetoed by Poland and Hungary.
Lawmakers in Warsaw earlier this week backed their government’s move to block the spending.
That even though Poland would be a big beneficiary - it stands to get 130 billion euros from the financial package.
Hungary’s nationalist leader Viktor Orban is taking the same stance.
The two countries object to an EU condition making the funds dependent on observing the rule of law.
But the Netherlands and other member states won’t OK the budget without that condition.
And that leaves a standoff.
EU talks during the week produced no result.
European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen spoke Thursday (November 19):
"Indeed, we have a very serious situation now. People in Europe and the businesses, the companies in Europe are urgently waiting for the funding -- in this unprecedented crisis and deep recession."
Von der Leyen said the search for a compromise would go on.
Hungary said Friday (November 20) that it still expected a deal.
But the differences run deep.
Hungary this week began importing Russia’s Sputnik vaccine, even though it’s not approved for use in the EU.
And that’s no surprise to Orban’s critics, who see him as an authoritarian, who’s much too cosy with Moscow.
Because beneath any arguments about money or vaccines, this is a deeper dispute about exactly how an EU member should behave.