29 Jun, 2021

Orbán's €7bn recovery plan should be withheld, demand Renew Europe MEPs

Renew Europe MEPs have written to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to urge her not to approve the Hungarian government’s recovery plan until an effective anti-fraud system is put in place in Hungary.

In the letter, the MEPs outline how this could be done:

First, they demand that Viktor Orbán agrees to grant the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) access to the list of final beneficiaries of the Resilience and Recovery Facility Plan (RFF) money.

Second, they ask that persons and entities with a record of serious financial irregularities or conflicts of interest should be denied from receiving RRF funds.

Third, they urge that the laws obstructing investigative journalists and civil society organisations from accessing public information must be repealed or revised.

It is a priority for the Renew Europe Group to ensure that the €7 billion in recovery funds to Hungary will benefit all Hungarians, and not a few politically connected ones.

In the letter, sent on 27 June by Renew Europe President Dacian Cioloș, Renew Europe Vice-President Katalin Cseh MEP (Momentum, HU), ALDE Party Vice-President and Renew Europe Vice-President and Economic Affairs Coordinator Luis Garicano MEP (Ciudadanos, ES) and Renew Europe Budgetary Affairs Coordinator Valérie Hayer MEP (Renaissance, FR) to von der Leyen, the MEPs stated:

“Fraud in Viktor Orbán's Hungary is endemic — or to quote the Commission: it is 'systemic'. In 2020, your services found that Hungary's anti-corruption framework is inadequate and that 'investigation and prosecution appears less effective in Hungary than in other Member States' and 'determined systematic action to prosecute high-level corruption is lacking.'”

They remind the Commission that an effective anti-fraud system is a criterion to access the recovery funds under the RRF regulation.

The letter concludes:

“Madame President, you have endeavoured to travel around Europe to physically deliver the Commission's seals of approval of the national recovery plans. You took pictures with every leader whose plan was rated positively by your services. When you go to Budapest, we want you to be able to shake Viktor Orbán's hand, knowing that his cronies are not rubbing theirs together with glee.”

Photo credit: Alexis Haulot, European Parliament's Audiovisual Service 2021.

Photo credit: Laurie Deffiembacq, European Parliament's Audiovisual Service 2021.

Photo credit: Michel Christen, European Parliament's Audiovisual Service 2021.

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