Renew Europe Vice President Katalin Cseh MEP (Momentum, Hungary) was one of the four MEPs who presented the legal arguments, written by legal scholars, for the European Commission to trigger the Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation with respect to Hungary on 7 July.
The report, which you can download here, details the reasons for which the European Commission can issue a written notification to the Hungarian government. This is the first step in a process that can culminate in the suspension of EU funds going to the Hungarian government. The report lists the following reasons as reasons to apply the regulation immediately:
- The lack of transparent management of EU Funds
- The lack of effective national prosecution services to investigate fraud
- The lack of guarantee of independent courts to ensure that EU law is reliably enforced
For too long, the Hungarian government has got away with using the funds from European taxpayers to help friends and family members of the ruling elite. Triggering the proceedings against Hungary will not only send a message to Hungarians that the EU wants money to go to them, not Viktor Orbán's friends, but it will also show other EU leaders that Rule of Law is not up for negotiation.
On 7 July, the European Commission announced that it was not yet approving the funds gong to Hungary as part of the Recovery and Resilience Fund (RRF) to restart the post-pandemic economy. The Renew Europe Group welcomed this first step. However, this does not mean that the Commission will not authorise the funds at a later date.
The Hungarian opposition parties and MEPs warned the Hungarian government that they needed to include stricter mechanisms to safeguard against corruption.
Photo credit: Philippe Stirnweiss, European Parliament 2021