Hungary under scrutiny of Brussels over controversial public procurement

Today, the European Commission formally launched a mechanism against Hungary to make European funds conditional on the rule of law. She informed Hungary about this in a letter, and Budapest now has two months to respond.

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

According to sources, this is an administrative procedure, not a criminal one. Today’s letter has no legal consequences and cannot be challenged. In the letter, the commission described cases in which it had reasonable grounds to suspect that there could be breaches of the rule of law that could affect the EU budget.

According to unofficial information, the main area where violations of the rule of law could exist is public procurement. They are linked to the budgetary authorities, control and transparency, and the prevention of fraud, corruption and EU law. In addition, they are concerned about the lack of a comprehensive anti-corruption framework.

Hungary now has two months to respond to the commission’s concerns. It is a co-operation process aimed at reaching an agreement that will allow the process to be completed, according to sources at the union.

If this does not happen, the process will continue. The Commission will have one month to examine the Member State’s replies. If it finds that the matter has not been resolved, it will send a new letter to Hungary with a more detailed explanation of the problems and a proposal for measures to address them.

Hungary will then have time to respond again, and if the parties still do not reach an agreement, the commission will propose corrective measures to protect the EU budget, which it will send to the EU Council for approval. The Council will act by a qualified majority on measures that may include a freeze on European funds.

The whole process will take five to nine months.


Source: Svet24.si by novice.svet24.si.

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