Hungary and the European Commission are set to agree to release billions of euros in frozen EU subsidies for the country. With new agreements that allow judges to do their job independently, doubts in Brussels have been dispelled, said responsible EU commissioner Johannes Hahn.
The EU is blocking the payment of around 21.5 billion in so-called cohesion subsidies, intended for the less prosperous regions of the Union, because Hungary would undermine the rule of law. As a result, she could not count on the money being spent properly. This hurts Budapest, because the struggling Hungarian economy could use the billions.
Budapest and Brussels agreed, among other things, that the Hungarian Judicial Council would have more say, for example. Judges can also more easily refer cases to the European Court of Justice.
Read also | Hungary signs new gas deal with Russia
‘Without a doubt’
Hahn has “no doubts” about the deals, the EU budget commissioner told Bloomberg news agency. Once the changes are introduced, he said, “the vast majority” of cohesion grants will be able to be disbursed. That would be around 13 billion. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government will soon submit the amendments to parliament. Thereafter, the committee still has to give its official approval.
Read also | Look Inside Viktor Orban’s Head: End-to-End Sleeper
If Orbán also wants to release the rest of frozen EU grants, his government needs to do more, Hahn notes. He also warns that Hungary is about to lose access to the Erasmus programme. This offers, for example, scholarships for students and teachers to study and work at universities elsewhere in the EU.
“Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover.”