Tibor Navracsics, the minister of regional development, has welcomed the European Commission’s support for the adoption of Hungary’s plan for accessing EU recovery funding as “significant progress”.
The commission’s decision did not come as a surprise to the Hungarian government, Navracsics told a regular government press briefing on Wednesday, adding that today’s decision was in line with what the EC had communicated in September. The minister pointed out that the commission had praised the Hungarian recovery plan as being “one of the best”.
Meanwhile, Navracsics said the commission’s decision to uphold its recommendation to freeze funding for three operative programmes was not a new development. He said this was due to the fact that the government’s “schedule of passing legislation and setting up institutions” included certain deadlines “that we have yet to reach”.
Navracsics said he was hopeful that Hungary would fulfill the outstanding commitments as precisely as it had fulfilled all the others. He said he hoped Hungary would be able to convince the commission and the European Council next year that the suspension of the funds did not have to be upheld and that the country could gain access to 100 percent of the funds in every operative programme.
The interests of the Hungarian people and regulations of the European Union have “achieved a victory over Orbá’s regime”, MEP István Ujhelyi told an online press conference on Wednesday.
Referring to an EU announcement made earlier in the day under which the community would continue to freeze 7.5 billion euros in cohesion funding for Hungary, Ujhelyi said the Hungarian government “now has an official certificate that they have committed crimes, trampling on all rules of democracy, the rule of law, and European values, and they abused EU funds in the past 12 years”.
Concerning the government’s negotiations with the European Commission aimed at accessing the funds, Ujhelyi said the commission had “accepted the (Hungarian) proposals initially, but then they saw that they had been watered up by the government and (ruling Fidesz’s) parliamentary majority”. “In any other European democracy the prime minister should step down after a decision like that,” Ujhelyi insisted, adding that Orban himself “is an obstacle” in the way of an agreement and Hungary receiving those funds as soon as possible. Ujhelyi added, however, he was glad that under Wednesday’s decision, Hungary would “not lose the EU funds for good”.