12 Dec, 2023

Viktor Orbán’s blackmail cannot determine EU future

Ahead of this week’s critical European Council, Renew Europe repeats its call for Article 7 of the EU Treaties to be taken forward against Hungary. 

While uncertainty persists about rule of law reforms in Hungary, Renew Europe is clear that no funds subject to the conditionality mechanism should be released. Orbán must not be allowed to blackmail the Union and undermine Europe’s future, including a clear European path for Ukraine. 

The Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU has so far failed to further the procedure, triggered by the European Parliament in 2018. The implementation of Article 7 must be accompanied by a clear commitment to a Convention on the Future of Europe, necessary to reform the Union. 

“We are against the release of any European funds for Hungary. We have no guarantee that there will be a return to sustainable democracy in Hungary. The future of the European Union, Ukraine and Moldova cannot be held hostage by one man. Renew Europe calls for the Article 7 procedure to finally be taken forward,” said Stéphane Séjourné MEP, President of Renew Europe. 

"Ukraine is fighting for its very existence and the EU must uphold its promises to support it politically, financially and militarily. If this must be done by 26 Member States, so be it." 

Renew Europe Vice-President Katalin Cseh MEP (Momentum, HU) added: “A decision to disburse EU funds for the Hungarian government would raise concerns about the European Commission's commitment to upholding the rule of law.  

“The European Parliament's thorough assessment revealed a clear discrepancy between proposed reforms and the judicial super-milestones set by the Commission. While some progress has been achieved under EU pressure, it is evident that Hungary does not currently meet the minimum standards of the rule of law.  

“The Commission should also be aware of the timing: the so-called ‘sovereignty protection bill’ is about to be passed [in Hungary], signalling a disturbing authoritarian turn, aiming to stifle dissent, intimidate critical voices and undermine the foundations of democracy in Hungary. With its inconsistency, the Commission would threaten to encourage these autocratic transgressions.” 

“We cannot give Viktor Orbán the opportunity to use corruptly diverted EU funds to keep his oligarch state alive. So far, Hungary has only delivered reforms on paper, and even then not sufficiently. The immediate transfer of €500 million to Hungary and the reported release of €10 billion is neither a legal nor a time-relevant necessity,” said Moritz Körner MEP (FDP, DE). 

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