Punishment by the EU: Brussels reprimands the Hungarian government with significant withdrawal of funds

The European Commission proposed budgetary protection measures to the Council under the conditionality regulation. The purpose of this is to protect the EU budget and the financial interests of the EU against violations of the principles of the rule of law in Hungary.

Regarding today’s decision, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Budgets and Administration, said: “Today’s decision clearly demonstrates that the Commission is determined to protect the EU budget and that we will use all the means at our disposal to achieve this important goal”.

This step builds on the intensive dialogue between the Commission and the Hungarian authorities in recent months, as a result of which Hungary proposed a number of corrective measures to address the concerns identified by the Commission when the process was officially launched on 27 April this year.

The announcement follows the letter sent by the Commission to Hungary describing the measures it intends to propose to the Council, as well as the corrective measures submitted by Hungary in its letter of 22 August, which it added with further clarifications in its letter of 13 September.

The measures proposed by the Hungarian government are, in principle, if they are properly implemented and codified, the measures proposed by the Hungarian government can solve the controversial issues.

According to Hahn, despite this, the Commission examined in particular in the Hungarian responses whether the corrective measures properly address the Commission’s original findings. In order for the measures to be considered appropriate, they must eliminate the violation of the principles of the rule of law and/or the risks to the EU budget and the Union’s financial interests.

The Commission concluded that the proposed remedial measures would in principle be able to address the issues in question if they were adequately detailed in the relevant laws and regulations and implemented accordingly.

Pending the completion of key implementation steps, the Commission considers that risks to the budget remain at this stage. This explains today’s decision and the proposed measures, which also take into account the corrective measures submitted by Hungary.

The Commission recommends the following measures:

  • The suspension of 65 percent of commitments for three operational programs within the framework of the cohesion policy, which, according to Hahn, affects 7.5 billion euros.
  • In the case of programs implemented within the framework of direct and indirect administration, the prohibition of legal commitments with public interest foundations.

The Council now has one month to decide on the adoption of the measures by qualified majority. In exceptional circumstances, this period can be extended by a maximum of two additional months.

In the meantime, the Commission will monitor the situation and keep the Council informed of any relevant elements that may affect its current assessment. Hungary undertook to fully inform the Commission on the fulfillment of the key implementation steps by November 19.

Source: Napi.hu by www.napi.hu.

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