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EU Commission recommends suspending €7.5 billion in funding for Hungary over corruption

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The European Commission on Sunday recommended the withholding of some €7.5 billion in funding for Hungary over corruption, the first such case in the 27-nation bloc under a new sanction meant to better protect the rule of law.

The EU introduced the new financial sanction two years ago precisely in response to what it says amounts to the undermining of democracy in Poland and Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban subdued courts, media, NGOs and academia, as well as restricting the rights of migrants, gays and women during more than a decade in power.

Today’s decision is a clear demonstration of the Commission’s resolve to protect the EU budget, and to use all tools at our disposal to ensure this important objective.

EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn, in charge of Budget and Administration.

On Saturday Budapest had promised to fast-track new laws to tackle corruption and a lack of transparency in government procurement in an attempt to end the standoff with Brussels.

“The government has either accepted the requests of the European Commission, or, in the areas where we could not accept them, we have managed to reach a compromise that is satisfactory to both parties,” Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas told a media briefing.

Last week MEPs from the European Parliament criticised the Commission, and the European Council, for “inaction” over Orban’s “corruption”.

EU member states now have three months in which to decide on the Commission proposal.

The Council has now one month to decide whether to adopt such measures, by qualified majority. This period could be extended by a maximum of further two months in exceptional circumstances.

  • European Commission & Council criticised for inaction against Viktor Orbán’s government over “corruption & misuse of EU funds”

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