04 Oct, 2022

No EU funds for Orbán before rule of law reforms

In a plenary debate in the European Parliament this week, Renew Europe stressed that the European Council should follow the European Commission's proposal to suspend EU funds for the Hungarian government due to its severe deterioration of the rule of law.

The Group believes that the Council should go even further by amending the Commission proposal to reinforce the text. It should set clearer rule of law conditions, stronger checks on their effective implementation and increase the amount of funding to be frozen.

While Renew Europe welcomes this first-ever use of the Conditionality Mechanism linking EU subsidies to the respect for the rule of law, MEPs emphasised that the Commission and Council must not let Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán off the hook or be fooled by empty promises of change.

No funds should be unblocked before a verifiable restoration of the rule of law is demonstrated. A reconsideration to unfreeze any funds should only be made after the Hungarian government has implemented any promised reforms.

Meanwhile, Hungarian citizens must not be punished for the corrupt actions of Orbán. For this reason, Renew Europe is pushing to direct the suspended EU funds directly to civil society.

Sophie in 't Veld MEP (D66, NL), Coordinator in the European Parliament Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, said:

“Orbán has demolished democracy unimpeded for over a decade. He has used EU funds to cement his power. The European Commission must not disburse any further funds without meaningful, verifiable reforms. Parliament has to do whatever it takes to make sure no payments will be made to this corrupt government.”

Moritz Körner MEP (FDP, DE), Renew Europe negotiator on the Rule of Law Conditionality Mechanism regulation in the European Parliament Committee on Budgets, concluded:

“The Commission and the Council must not be fobbed off by Orbán's quickly decided paper tigers. Orbán has lost the right to a leap of faith. There must be no more discount on the rule of law in Europe.”

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