EU Commission Seeks to Sanction Hungary
The EU Commission recommends only releasing corona aid and subsidies for Hungary when the country implements demands for the rule of law. The EU Council of Ministers still has to approve the recommendation.
Hungary fears that billions of euros in EU payments will be suspended despite the recent anti-corruption measures. The EU Commission recommended only releasing corona aid and other funding if the right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban fully implements promises to uphold the rule of law. Specifically, this involves around 7.5 billion euros from the community budget and 5.8 billion euros in corona aid.
An EU Council of Ministers could accept the EU Commission’s recommendation to freeze funds from the Community budget in the coming weeks. However, a qualified majority would be necessary – that is, at least 15 of the 27 EU states would have to agree and together make up at least 65 per cent of the total population of the EU.
In the case of Corona aid, the Commission proposes formally confirming the Hungarian plan for using the funds. However, payments should only be made if the country meets a catalogue of requirements. This includes those formulated in the rule of law process.
The Commission acted similarly in the case of Poland, whose plan was already adopted in the middle of the year. Further developments are eagerly awaited because Hungary has considerable means to exert pressure on the EU.
For example, the government in Budapest could block all decisions that require unanimity in the EU. This applies, for instance, to sanctions against Russia or decisions to support Ukraine in the war against the neighbouring country.