Weekly newsletter

Government Optimistic about Brussels’ Decision on EU Funds

Mariann Őry 2022.09.19.

The European Commission is proposing a partial suspension of Hungary’s EU funds. According to government officials, the punitive measures are of secondary importance, as Hungary will fulfill its commitments, paving the way to receiving the EU funds this year.

Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for Budget and Administration, announced on Sunday that the European Commission proposed “budget protection measures” to the Council of the EU under the conditionality regulation, in order to “ensure the protection of the EU budget and the financial interests of the EU against breaches of the principles of the rule of law in Hungary.”

According to the Commission, the remedial measures proposed by the Hungarian government could in principle address the issues at hand if they are correctly detailed in relevant laws and rules, and implemented accordingly. “Pending the fulfilment of the key implementation steps, the Commission considers that a risk for the budget remains at this stage,” accordimg to the statement.

The Commission proposed the following measures:

  • A suspension of 65 percent (7.5 billion euros) of the commitments for three operational programs under cohesion policy.
  • A prohibition to enter into legal commitments with the public interest trusts for programs implemented in direct and indirect management.

The Council now has one month to decide whether to adopt such measures by a qualified majority. This period could be further extended by a maximum of two months under exceptional circumstances.

According to Politico‘s interpretation, Johannes Hahn “opened the door for Hungary to get the cash if it alleviated EU concerns on corruption.”

Justice Minister Discusses Rule of Law in Paris, Madrid, and Lisbon
Justice Minister Discusses Rule of Law in Paris, Madrid, and Lisbon

Judit Varga hails constructive talks with the European Commission.Continue reading

“The Hungarian and European left, as if there were no tomorrow, have been working their fingers to the bone to block the agreement between EU and Hungary, and to ‘starve out’ Hungarians,” Tamás Deutsch, the head of the ruling Fidesz party’s delegation in the European Parliament, reacted on Twitter, referring to a quote by Katarina Barley, the EP’s Socialist Vice President. “However, the Commission’s decision paves the way for the rapid conclusion of fruitful negotiations on EU funds, therefore Hungary will have full access to them soon,” he added.

“There will be no obstacles to closing the discussions within three months and to receive EU funds,” Balázs Orbán, the Prime Minister’s Political Director stated.

Minister for Regional Development Tibor Navracsics – who is also responsible for the uptake of EU funds – welcomed the Commission’s decision as progress. He remarked at a press conference on Sunday that the government is hopeful that negotiations could be concluded by the end of the year. Navracsics explained that as the Orbán government intends to fulfil the commitments it made in connection with the rule of law procedure and the recovery funds, the proposed sanctions are of “secondary importance,” because their approval “cannot happen” in the Council.

Navracsics noted that Hungary had begun implementing its remedial measures in August to speed up the process. He told ATV that the bills related to the promises made to the  Commission will be submitted to Parliament on Monday. He added that he hopes they will signal to Brussels that not only the government’s commitments are serious, but also their implementation.

“By linking money and the rule of law, we have the greatest leverage you can imagine. (…) I don’t want to see blood. I want the circumstances in Hungary to be repaired for the sake of the people in Hungary,” Vera Jourová, the European Commission’s Vice-President for Values and Transparency told Die Welt on Monday.

Featured photo via the European Commission

    [1536x1536] => Array
            [width] => 1536
            [height] => 1536
            [crop] => 

    [2048x2048] => Array
            [width] => 2048
            [height] => 2048
            [crop] =>