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EC triggers rule of law mechanism against Hungary

EU

The European Commission (EC) announced the launch of a rule of law procedure against Hungary today, according to a report by news site Telex.hu.

EC Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn has formally notified Hungary about the launch of the rule of law mechanism, within the framework of which the EC can withhold European Union (EU) funds from the bloc's members in case they fail to respect the EU's rule of law requirements. The launch was announced today by EC Vice President Margaritis Schinas at a press conference in Brussels.

The launch marks the beginning of a 6-9 month process. If it is proven that the EU's financial interests are directly harmed in Hungary due to breaching rule of law standards, the EC may opt to suspend or block EU funding to the country.

According to Telex, decision-makers in Brussels stressed that the goal of the process is not to sanction Hungary but to prevent and settle problems via negotiation. In the first stage, instead of taking financial steps, the EC will expect Hungary to make changes to national legislation in order to bring them in line with the EU laws.

If it did come to sanctions, then the possibility of fund withdrawal will apply to EU funds received by Hungary after January 1, 2021, the report says.

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