The blocking of 7.5 billion euros belonging to Hungary from European Union funds will probably be recommended to member countries today by the European Commission. At the same time, according to information leaked to the media, the EU executive will approve the Hungarian recovery plan, but will condition the payment of money from the extraordinary recovery fund on the fulfillment of other requirements related to the functioning of the rule of law in Hungary.
The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has long been the target of criticism from Brussels and several member countries due to the system of distribution of EU money, which, according to them, is not sufficiently secured against corruption and clientelism. Budapest, which is struggling with serious economic problems and desperately needs money from the EU coffers, has pledged to carry out a set of 17 reforms. However, according to EU sources, the reform steps are not completely satisfactory. The Commission therefore wants to insist on blocking the payment of money, which represents about 65 percent of Hungary’s share of funds intended for the development of less developed regions in the multiannual budget for the years 2021 to 2027. The assessment should serve as a basis for the decision-making of the member states, whose finance ministers must decide on a possible money freeze by December 19.
Today, the Commission is also likely to approve Hungary’s investment and reform plan, on the basis of which the country should receive 5.8 billion euros from the extraordinary fund intended for the recovery of the economy from the crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic. However, Brussels will condition the payment of the money on the fulfillment of 27 requirements related to the fight against corruption or improving control over the allocation of public contracts.