Brussels and Budapest are playing a financial match. No one knows how it will all end – Friday

The EU is in trouble Meanwhile, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Hungarian government has been stripped of more than ten billion euros in cohesion and coronavirus funds. The reason for this is Hungary’s friendly relations with Russia

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Issue 50/2022

Viktor Orbán, when he just learned about the arrest of the European Parliament's vice-president

Viktor Orbán, when he just learned about the arrest of the European Parliament’s vice-president

Relations between the EU Commission and Budapest have been strained for many years. Brussels does not want a government that puts national interests above political maxims, and certainly not one like Hungary, which does so with the express consent of the population. Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party won an absolute majority of seats in April’s parliamentary elections for the fourth time in a row, with 54.1 percent.

In the corridors of the Berlaymont building, there is a general distrust of anything national; nothing strange, because in all 27 EU countries the electorate decides on the legislative power. The EU Commission lacks such legitimacy because it is negotiated by national executive authorities, bypassing European Parliament elections.

who are not selected for it. Most recently, at the highest level, when Germany and France influenced who will become the head of the Commission and who will become the president of the ECB. In the world, wherever national political interests are only heard against the liberal economic rules and regulations of the four EU freedoms – capital, goods, services, labor , dealing with Brussels. This is what happened at the end of 2018, when the Brussels Commission rejected a budget proposal by member Italy because the Five Star Movement and Lega coalition wanted to take on too much debt for social spending. Poland and Hungary have been in Brussels’ crosshairs for years, largely because of EU supremacy over national law. The “conditional mechanism” is now being used against Budapest – the ability to block EU funds if the European Court of Justice (ECJ) believes that a member does not comply with the principles of the rule of law; this is only if EU funds are misused. Budapest and Warsaw appealed this, but in 2022 February. The ECJ rejected the claim. The Commission immediately pursued the case. After a series of infringement proceedings, Orbán’s government is now on its knees financially. In Brussels, she enjoys all sorts of things, such as “discrimination against LGBTIQ people” because in 2021 in June, a law was passed prohibiting minors from receiving information about homosexuality and transsexuality. “Discrimination of drivers with foreign license plates” was worth complaining to the EU Commission as well, because from 2021 in November In Hungary, a liter of gasoline is limited to the equivalent of only 1.17 euros (the government abolished this surcharge on December 7, 2022). residents). The guardians of the unhindered movement of goods were also annoyed by the restrictions on the export of grain established by law. As I said, a lot of money is at stake. Brussels uses two established funds for this – the Cohesion Fund, which is used to promote environmental protection and EU integration measures, and the Corona Aid Fund, which compensates countries for the effects of the pandemic. The EU Commission, supported by the German government, wanted to freeze 7.5 billion of funds allocated to Hungary. At the beginning of the week in Brussels, the permanent representatives of the member states agreed on a compromise for the time being on the 6.3 billion. funds to acknowledge that some of the necessary measures have already been implemented in Budapest. is concerned, the EU Commission has approved Hungary’s reconstruction plan and related guidelines…

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