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The European Union is unlikely to clinch a deal on new climate policies at a EU summit this week if they cannot overcome deep divisions and agree the bloc’s next budget.

The governments of Poland and Hungary, both under pressure from EU leaders for their politics, are blocking the budget and the recovery fund because they object to making the funds conditional on changing their policies.

EU leaders have given both governments 24 hours to lift their veto or face an agreement without Hungary and Poland.  

The EU summit plans to agree a more ambitious 2030 climate target when they meet in Brussels on Thursday, but this may be scuppered if Poland and Hungary refuse to back down.

The climate and budget issues are interlinked as the EU has agreed that hundreds of billions of euros from its 1.8-billion-euro budget and COVID-19 recovery fund will actually be spent on climate-related projects.

A group of mostly Eastern European countries – including Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – want clearer guarantees on funding and other conditions before they support the target.

An official from a country already on board with the climate goal said other states were unlikely to put up extra cash. “There’s ample EU funds available,” the official said.