Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has sent a letter to House Speaker László Kövér, briefing parliament on the results of the European Union summit held from July 17 to 21, and focusing on the requests parliament had put down ahead of the meeting, the PM’s press chief Bertalan Havasi said on Monday.
Havasi noted that in a resolution passed on July 14, the Hungarian parliament set a “clear mandate” for the government regarding the talks on the EU’s multiannual budget and its recovery package planned to offset the coronavirus pandemic’s damage to the economy.
Orbán said in his letter that the Hungarian government had succeeded in ensuring that member states in similar economic situations are granted equal treatment, and that citizens of richer states do not receive more support than those of poorer countries. Hungary has also ensured that the Article 7 procedure in progress against the country should be concluded before the approval of the EU’s Financial Framework for 2021-2027 and the coronavirus rescue package, the letter said.
In line with the parliamentary resolution, the prime minister had initiated that the Article 7 procedure against Hungary, which was “politically motivated and launched on legally disputed grounds”, should be concluded during Germany’s EU presidency, until December 31, Orbán said. He said that Hungary had answered all questions regarding democracy and the rule of law.
Hungary has failed, however, to achieve progress in ensuring that EU funding of “parties and political organisations disguised as NGOs” is scrapped, the letter said. The prime minister pledged to keep “on the agenda” the issue of EU funding for “political parties and pseudo-civil organisations actually engaged in political activity”.
Hungary’s funding from the multiannual budget and the recovery package will run to 40.7 billion euros, Orbán said. The country will also be entitled to a 10 billion euro loan, with the two sums adding up to 2.8 percent of GDP, he said. Moreover, Hungary will also receive cohesion funds corresponding to 1.8 percent of its GDP over the next seven years, the letter said.
At the summit, “Poland and Hungary fought side by side” and managed to thwart that procedures conducted “in the name of, but actually undermining, the rule of law” endanger Hungary’s financial interests and its cohesion funding. Important steps have been taken so that those resources should not be tied to political and ideological conditions, he said.
“The EU budget and recovery package offer a serious economic opportunity to Hungary. However, a joint loan as part of the EUs coronavirus response goes against Hungary’s decade-long deficit-cutting policy, and may result in a communal debt hitherto unheard of in the EU’s history. […] I propose that during the ratification debate of the agreement, the Hungarian parliament review the results and decide whether the achievements in fulfilling its mandate are sufficient for it to support the agreement,” Orbán said.
featured photo: illustration (Noémi Bruzák/MTI)