An agreement on Hungary’s withheld EU funds is close, according to press reports. Justice Minister Judit Varga says the country has done all that is necessary.
Politico and Reuters have both reported that – according to their sources – Hungary will soon receive the EU funds that the European Commission has been withholding.
The European Commission gave Hungary until this Saturday to enact the 17 measures set out by the Brussels body. Then, the Commission will give its assessment, with November 30 now the likely date, according to Politico. “On December 6, EU finance ministers will formally have their say on whether to release the money, but the word around Brussels is that it is a done deal,” the news portal adds.
Politico expects a huge row in Brussels because the European Parliament’s majority is against releasing the funds, and according to a recent memorandum, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands are all calling on the Commission to undertake a “thorough and updated risk analysis” of the 17 measures.
On Thursday, MEPs dealing with the rule of law mechanism said that the measures taken by Hungary to remedy breaches of the rule of law are inadequate. Petri Sarvamaa, a Finnish MEP from the European People’s Party, argued at the press conference that the European Commission had interpreted its task “very narrowly” when it criticized specific cases of corruption and conflicts of interest in public procurement in Hungary. He said it is possible that Hungary has now started to move in the right direction, but the 17 measures proposed by the Hungarian government, “which they managed to push through the Hungarian parliament quickly,” do not yet lead to the conclusion that the rule of law has been restored in Hungary.
The topic will be on the agenda of next week’s plenary session.
Finnish MEP Petri Sarvamaa and Spanish MEP Eider Gardiazabal Rubial (Photo: European Parliament)
Hungary is on the agenda of today’s meeting of the General Affairs Council, where the country is represented by Justice Minister Judit Varga. Hungary has done its utmost to reach an agreement with the European Commission in order to meet the seventeen commitments previously negotiated to allow the release of EU funds by the deadline, the minister told journalists.
She stressed that the Hungarian Parliament has been working on the agreement since September and that further plans are on the table. On Saturday, Hungary will send an official letter to the Brussels body informing it of the work done, the justice minister said.
Featured photo via Facebook/Varga Judit