European Commission Recommends Withholding Billions in Funding from Hungary

The European Commission has recommended that billions of euros of funding for Hungary should be withheld because Viktor Orban’s government has failed to enact widespread reforms. In total, the European Commission recommends that €13.3bn (£11.5bn) of EU money should be put on hold in budget and Covid recovery funding.

Hungary’s government has been accused for years of democratic backsliding. The proposal to freeze EU money is made up of two pay-outs: The Commission said on Wednesday that it had decided to endorse Hungary’s Covid recovery plan, but said no pay-out was possible until Budapest had “fully and correctly implemented” 27 milestones on judicial reforms, as well as measures under a national recovery plan.

The second element of the Commission’s proposal is a general budget freeze on all EU funding to Hungary, worth €3.9bn next year. This would target so-called “cohesion funds”, which are used to reduce economic and social disparities between different EU regions. Tibor Navracsics, the minister responsible for the negotiations, said that while the Orban government can take some comfort from the fact that its recovery plan was approved, the EU’s plan is a major setback.

By Evey Lovelace

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