Hungary has not implemented enough reforms to improve its anti-corruption safeguards, making it impossible to unlock billions of euros in EU funds for the country, the European Commission said on Friday.
“The overall risk to the EU budget remains unchanged”
The EC reiterated that recent changes aimed at improving anti-corruption safeguards in Hungary have not dispelled concerns about the state of democracy in the country or justified the transfer of EU funds worth up to EUR 13.3 billion.
The EU blocked the funds over concerns about corruption and a lack of judicial independence in Hungary, which in turn vetoed an EU loan to Kiev and a global corporate tax proposal.
“The overall risk to the EU budget remains unchanged … it has not changed in the light of the recent legislative changes adopted in Hungary,” EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn wrote in a letter to the Hungarian government.
Hungary creates an anti-corruption agency
Budapest sought to strike a deal with the Commission by setting up an anti-corruption agency to unlock EU funds.
However, the Commission said this was not enough, recommending a freeze of €7.5 billion, or 65% of development funds allocated to Hungary under the 2021-2027 budget. It also withheld approval of around €5.8 billion for Hungary from the Recovery Fund.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA