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The European Commission’s direct message to Hungary: no money without reforms

The European Commission wants to continue to freeze EU funds to Hungary as long as it does not comply Principles of the rule of law.

“Unfortunately, Hungary has not implemented the necessary measures,” EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn said on Wednesday.

as such is expected The European Commission suggested on Wednesday that a total of 13.3 billion euros in EU aid to Hungary should be withheld because the country has not done enough to meet the bill. Principles of the rule of law. During the year the Commission made a number of demands for action on Hungary, and it is now clear that the country has not adhered to them.

“Unfortunately, Hungary has not implemented the necessary measures and therefore the risks we identified have not disappeared,” EU budget commissioner Johannes Hahn said when the announcement came on Wednesday.

Today’s decision concerns two different EU funds. In part, there are about 7.5 billion euros of alleged cohesion money in the EU budget. Here, the European Commission implemented for the first time the so-called new conditionality mechanism, whereby EU funds can be withheld if the country does not comply with Principles of the rule of law.

The Hungarian government has introduced 17 measures, including a new privacy authority, which it believes will cover up the shortcomings the Commission has pointed out – but the European Commission therefore does not consider them sufficient.

It is also about 5.8 billion from the EU recovery fund, that is, money that will help member states recover after the pandemic.

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On Wednesday, the European Commission recommended that member states give the green light to Hungary’s recovery plan – but stressed that no money should be paid until 27 different measures have been taken, for example to boost the independence of courts.

However, EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn stressed on Wednesday that developments in Hungary had gone in the right direction and that the country had addressed a large part of its obligations in a short time.

– We can already conclude that conditional regulation was and remains the right tool for application. We have received reform commitments that otherwise would not have occurred, he said.

This question must now be decided by the EU finance ministers before December 19th. The decision is taken by a qualified majority, so Hungary has no possibility to block the decision itself with the right of veto.