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German Press: Frozen EU Funds Could Arrive in Hungary by Christmas

Hungary Today 2023.11.09.

Viktor Orbán can hope for a “gift” from Brussels this Christmas, as the Commission could release some of the withheld funds, reports Handelsblatt.

Correspondent Carsten Volkery, reporting from Brussels, says that Viktor Orbán is blocking new Ukraine aid with his veto in order to free up frozen EU funds for Hungary. He believes that this strategy could work this time.

When Prime Minister Viktor Orbán shook hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin on camera a few weeks ago, there was great outrage in Brussels. The act of showing friendship with the enemy in the Ukrainian war was seen as a provocation, and EU Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová even spoke of “high treason,” the German newspaper recalls.

However, the Commission is now on the verge of fulfilling Orbán’s most burning wish and releasing some of the frozen EU billions for Hungary. The Commission is withholding a total of EUR 22 billion for regional development funding and EUR 5.8 billion in COVID aid because it sees serious flaws in the rule of law in the country. The German newspaper believes that the EU’s credibility could be at stake. According to the article, the question now is whether Brussels will be able to enforce its rule of law principles or whether it will allow itself to be put under pressure by the Hungarian Prime Minister.

The 27 Member States want to decide on new Ukraine aid worth EUR 50 billion by the end of the year, and the decision must be made unanimously, meaning that they are dependent on Orbán.

However, the prime minister has “another trump card up his sleeve: the change of government in Poland.” Following the latest election results, EU-friendly Donald Tusk is likely to become the next Prime Minister in Poland.

The article recalls that during the election campaign,

Tusk promised that the EU funds for Poland, which had also been frozen, would flow again under his government.

The Commission is currently blocking EUR 78 billion in regional development funds and EUR 35.4 billion in COVID aid in the case of Poland. The reason is the flaws of rule of law under the previous government.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is facing a hard decision.

She would like to help her colleague Tusk, but she must avoid any suspicion of double standards.

Before she can transfer money to Poland, she will have to help Hungary. The odds are therefore good that Hungary could receive a “gift” worth billions by Christmas, concludes the Handelsblatt correspondent.

Agricultural Funds Unaffected by the Brussels Conflict
Agricultural Funds Unaffected by the Brussels Conflict

New agricultural and rural development tenders will be launched at the beginning of next year.Continue reading

Via Handelsblatt, Featured image: Pixabay

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