EC Unlocks EUR 10 bln Funding for Hungary

EU

The European Commission on Wednesday said reforms Hungary implemented had remedied shortcomings related to the independence of its judiciary and part of the country's cohesion policy financing could be released, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

"After a thorough assessment, and several exchanges with the Hungarian government, the Commission considers that Hungary has taken the measures it committed to take in order for the Commission to consider that the horizontal enabling condition on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is fulfilled in what concerns judicial independence," the EU's executive arm said.

"This means part of the Cohesion Policy funding would no longer be blocked, and therefore Hungary may start claiming reimbursements of up to around EUR 10.2 bln," it added.

The EC said it would "closely and continuously monitor" the application of the measures put in place by Hungary. "If, at any point in time, the Commission considers that this horizontal enabling condition is no longer fulfilled, it may again decide to block funding," it added.

The EC noted that the Council had adopted remedial measures related to public procurement, prosecutorial action, conflict of interest, the fight against corruption, and public interest trusts to protect the EU budget from breaches of the principles of the rule of law in Hungary under the budget conditionality mechanism in December 2022. 

Despite regular exchanges with Hungary, the EC said it considered that the country had not addressed the breaches of the rule of law that led to the adoption of the measures and it was in no position to propose that the measures against Hungary be adapted or lifted.

Three Cohesion Policy programs, with a budget of EUR 6.3 bln, remain suspended, it added.

With regard to the suspension of Hungary's Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) funding, the EC said "super milestones" Hungary had committed to had "not been fully complied with" and no payment request could be paid out for now.

Around EUR 21 bln of Hungary's funding remains locked, the EC said.

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