The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday, calling on member states to cooperate in preventing fraud harming the EU budget, and urging strict control of the EU recovery funds.
In a resolution adopted at the EP plenary session with 437 votes in favour, 94 against and 39 abstentions, MEPs called on the European Commission to fulfil its duties and engage more effectively with severe violations of the principles of the rule of law in some member states. The resolution welcomed the rule of law mechanism launched against Hungary last year, and called on the EC to consider doing the same against other member states similarly running afoul of the principle.
The resolution proposed that
if the Hungarian and Polish governments failed to fulfil all requirements for access to EU funds, the EC should temporarily handle EU resources in cooperation with local governments and civil organisations.
While the resolution acknowledged the efforts of Ukraine’s neighbours in accepting refugees since the start of the war, it said EU funds could not be disbursed to countries that fail to comply with the rulings of the European Court of Justice and do not acknowledge the supremacy of EU law. The MEPs expect a new control mechanism and preventive measures regarding the 1.8 billion euros to be disbursed in the 2021-2027 financial cycle.
They also called on “the main beneficiaries of the EU cohesion funds” such as Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria to join the initiative launched to prevent and investigate fraud of the recovery and resilience fund implemented to offset the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
In response, Fidesz MEPs said the resolution’s rapporteur was Momentum MEP Katalin Cseh, who “is involved in a severe case of fraud”, which they said undermined the credibility of the European Parliament.
MEP Andor Deli said the resolution contained “the usual ideologically motivated attacks against Hungary and Poland”. For this reason, he said, Fidesz’s MEPs voted against it.
Hungary was the first country to sign an agreement with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, Deli said. It has brought charges in 67 percent of the cases recommended by the EU’s anti-fraud body OLAF, nearly double the EU average of 35 percent, he said.