Members of Hungary’s government have made optimistic statements about the negotiations with the European Commission on EU funds.
“All barriers between the European Union and Hungary that have obstructed an agreement so far have been averted,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at a joint press conference after the V4 summit in Košice (Kassa), Slovakia on Thursday, concerning the ongoing talks between the European Commission and the Hungarian government about the withheld EU funds.
We have fulfilled everything that we have pledged to do, and on which we have agreed,
the prime minister stated.
As Orbán noted, the government had agreed on a 17-point package with the European Commission. “They told us what they wanted, and then we drew up concrete plans and implemented them, we are now waiting for them to come to a decision at the session of the Commission planned to take place on November 30,” he explained.
The Hungarian Prime Minister was also asked about the European Parliament’s resolution condemning Hungary, adopted on the same day. According to the document, MEPs insist that the EU must freeze funding to Hungary.
Orbán commented that he was not surprised. He noted that the Hungarian Parliament has a resolution about the EU’s future. The resolution – initiated by the governing Fidesz/KDNP parties – was based on Orbán’s speech last year, in which he made contributions to the then-ongoing Congress of the Future of Europe. One of his suggestions was to fundamentally reform the European Parliament: “We must significantly increase the role of national parliaments: nations’ legislatures should send representatives to the European Parliament based on the model of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.”
“This is a casus belli in the eyes of the European Parliament, and accordingly we cannot expect to receive a single good word from that direction, since we have called into question the jobs of the MEPs sitting there,” he pointed out.
According to Politico’s newsletter
on Thursday morning, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday “decided Orbán’s government has not fulfilled a set of self-imposed promises to tackle corruption by a deadline of November 19.” Brussels will therefore hold payments under the pandemic recovery fund (amounting to some 5.8 billion euros) as long as Budapest fails to fulfill these commitments, Politico
writes, adding that in parallel, the Commission decided it will recommend freezing 7.5 billion euros from the regular EU budget.
The current EU decision is a big step forward, because the operational programs and the recovery plan will most probably be approved, and Hungary will be able to conclude agreements with the European Commission by the end of the year. This will allow the EU funds to arrive, meaning Hungary will not lose any money, Minister for Regional Development Tibor Navracsics said at a press conference in Budapest on Thursday.
He said that although they have not received any official notification on the Commission’s position, if it suspends payments for 65 percent of the operational programs as reported in the press, it will not mean a loss of resources, but only a delay in payments.
Photo via Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Benko Vivien Cher