The Hungarian government has made concessions to the European Union. This was necessary in order for Hungary to receive EU funds. However, it is not known what the Hungarian government is committing to. The package of measures was sent to the European Commission on 22 August. According to experts, the reason for the silence is that the Hungarian government has been forced to make serious concessions.
Response letter to the European Commission
On 23 August, Judit Varga, the Minister of Justice, announced on her Facebook page that the government had sent a letter of response to the European Commission. In it, they describe what measures they would take to address EU concerns about the rule of law and corruption. The Hungarian government was given a final month at the end of July to propose measures to protect the rule of law. The justice minister posted minutes after the deadline that a response had been sent to Brussels. “The Hungarian government has put a comprehensive package of measures on the table with the aim of addressing all the concerns of the committee,” Varga wrote.
Before sending the letter, the Hungarian government held lengthy consultations with the EU. In one month, the Orbán government held ten video conferences and several meetings with the European Commission. More than a hundred drafts were discussed and negotiated.
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However, Judit Varga’s post does not say what exactly was agreed on between the two parties. Not only the Minister of Justice but also Tibor Navracsics was not forthcoming on the matter. According to the Regional Development Minister, “The government has made concrete commitments on all outstanding issues”. Gergely Gulyás, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, also revealed some details. According to Gulyás, Fidesz is willing to amend more than ten laws.
The European Commission announced in April that it would launch a rule of law procedure against Hungary, rtl.hu reports. This is the case when a Member State is found to be in breach of the rule of law requirements laid down in the EU’s founding treaty. All member states are obliged to comply with them. The penalty is the withdrawal of EU funds. In the case of Hungary, this is more than 11,000 billion forints frozen by the EU.
This is made up of several items: money from the current budget for Hungary, money to mitigate the effects of the Covid epidemic and a loan. According to 24.hu, the main problems in Hungary are related to public procurement. The European Commission says there were systemic irregularities in the distribution of EU funds. Since the change of government in 2010, a narrow circle of people linked to the government has had access to EU funds.
An urgent agreement is needed
The Hungarian government is willing to compromise because time is running out and there are many problems. If no agreement is reached, Hungary could lose a lot of money. If no plan is agreed upon by 31 December, 70 percent of the non-refundable funds will be cut. The reason why the government keeps quiet could be for the many concessions it has to make to the European Commission.
The money is not there yet, but the Hungarian government has already spent some of it. On the government side, we can see that a quarter of the funding has already been distributed.
Czech EU Affairs Minister Mikulas Bek said there is hardly any willingness in the Commission or among the member countries to accept Hungary’s promises without seeing action first, writes Reuters.
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Source: rtl.hu, Facebook, 24.hu
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