Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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European Commission threatens billions in fine for Hungary

The European Commission does not want to pay 7.5 billion euros from the large corona recovery fund to Hungary because the country does not comply with European rules and regulations. It is the first time that the European Commission actually applies the penalty system of the constitutional law system. 

Last Friday, the European Parliament said in a resolution that Hungary can no longer be called a democracy. MEP Tineke Strik (GroenLinks) wants other EU funds to be withheld, such as agricultural funds, to put pressure on Hungary. Strik emphasizes that Hungarian abuse and fraud with agricultural funds have already been demonstrated in recent years. 

The anti-EU course of the nationalist Hungarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been a stumbling block in EU circles for years, but until now European heads of government have blocked the imposition of fines.

But now that Hungary is rejecting the pro-Ukraine and anti-Russia course of the EU countries, Brussels has had enough. Hungary decided earlier this month to buy more Russian oil.

The 7.5 billion now withheld is about half of the Hungarian money in the EU-wide recovery fund. In an effort to allay Brussels' fears, Budapest announced – at the very last minute – on Saturday that it wants to curb corruption.

Next week, the EU heads of government have yet to approve the fine imposed, and Hungary has six weeks to backtrack.

The conflict between Hungary, one of the bloc's largest net beneficiaries, and the EU has grown steadily since Orban's ruling Fidesz party came to power in 2010.

The largest ruling party is accused of humiliating the country's democratic institutions, curtailing media freedoms, fraud with EU subsidies and violating the rights of minorities – something Budapest denies.

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