After ten years of confrontations, battles and broken promises, Brussels does not trust the word of Viktor Orbán. The European Commission has today given its green light to the recovery plan submitted by Budapest, the key to aid from the EU anti-crisis fund, but will not authorize any payment until it complies and implements the reforms it contains. To the retention of this first tranche of aid worth 5,800 million euros, of which he could lose most if the situation is not resolved before the end of the year, another proposal is added, in this case to immobilize 7,500 million Euros from regional funds allocated to the Magyar country also for problems related to the rule of law.
"Funds will not arrive until Hungary correctly complies" with the 27 key measures included in its recovery plan before being able to present the first request for funds, the vice-president of the community executive, Valdis Drombroskis, has announced. The budget commissioner, Johannes Hahn, for his part, has concluded that although "Hungary is moving in the right direction", "there is still a risk for the community budget" because key corrective measures remain to be implemented, so he maintains his proposal for not authorize the payment of the aforementioned regional funds. Brussels has agreed with Budapest on several reforms that affect judicial independence and the fight against corruption. "We are going to monitor very closely how Hungary applies these measures. Here it is not worth fulfilling a part to receive a part of the funds," warned the Justice Commissioner, Didier Reynders.
In total, the measures affect European aid worth 13,300 million euros. The last word is held by the Council, the institution where the governments sit, which has until December 19 to make a decision on the matter. Poland has also blocked access to certain European funds due to problems related to its judicial system, but it is the first time that the European Commission applies the new conditionality rules, adopted to reinforce the rule of law. Budapest, for its part, has taken several EU decisions hostage: the agreement for a minimum tax of 15% for multinationals and, more recently, the approval of 18,000 million euros in financial aid to Ukraine are blocked by the Hungarian veto .
The verdict and the consequent proposal of the European Commission are in any case a hard blow for the Orbán government, pressured by a strong economic crisis that is putting public coffers in serious trouble. This difficult financial context, affirm European diplomatic sources, explains Orbán's novel willingness to accept all the reform recommendations from Brussels. At this point in the constant struggle with Budapest for the independence of justice and corruption, the community executive, however, does not want words, but facts.