Europe

Hungary’s European funds and corruption in the spotlight this WEEK

ProDentim

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EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn is due to travel to Budapest on Tuesday (May 2) as negotiations to release billions in EU funds, stalled over concerns over judicial independence, progressed last week.

Hahn is visiting the country as part of his EU-27 tour.

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However, Hungary is a particularly important milestone as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government is expected to submit key judicial reforms to parliament as part of its effort to unlock EU funds.

“We have the green light from Brussels,” Justice Minister Judit Varga said on her official Facebook page last Thursday.

Varga was in Brussels earlier in the week and said he had reached a technical agreement with Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders – to which the European Commission has yet to give its political blessing.

The commission suspended part of Hungary’s cohesion funds and suspended its Covid-19 recovery fund, due to concerns about the independence of judges and the country’s failure to respect the Charter of Fundamental Human Rights. EU on issues such as LGBTQ rights and academic freedom. .

Cohesion funds are worth €6.3bn, and allocated recovery funds would be worth €5.8bn – if Hungary hits 27 ‘super milestones’ focused on rule of law, corruption and corruption judicial independence.

Hungary needs EU funds because its economy is stagnating and inflation is over 25%.

European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova is also expected to present plans on a sanctions framework targeting corruption.

On Thursday (4 May), EU foreign ministers are due to meet on development issues.

They are also expected to discuss with EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell the latest developments in Ukraine and Sudan.

EU social and health ministers are due to gather in Stockholm for informal meetings during the week.

The European Commission is set to present its plans on how to support ammunition production in the bloc, in light of the war in Ukraine.

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