Certain European Union countries’ attempt to link the approval of Hungary’s recovery fund to “completely unrelated” issues such as the global minimum corporate tax or an 18 billion euro loan taken out to aid Ukraine is “not fair” and “would create a dangerous precedent”, Finance Minister Mihály Varga said in Brussels on Tuesday. Varga told a press conference after a meeting of EU finance and economy ministers (ECOFIN) that the European Commission’s recent positive assessment of Hungary’s recovery plan “after a year and a half” was a “significant step forward”. All member states support the plan’s content, and so it could be officially approved before the end of the year, he said.
At the same time, Varga regretted that the EC has maintained its proposal to suspend disbursement of funds for three operative programmes, despite the government’s fulfilment of 17 requirements until the November deadline. Since this is the first time the rule-of-law conditionality is being used, several member states have said that the EC “should remain fair, objective and proportionate” and “base its standpoint on facts”, he said.
Regarding plans that EU member states would take out a joint loan of 18 billion euros to aid Ukraine, Varga said Hungary will not give its consent to that plan. Hungary is ready to help Ukraine further but will only disburse its own resources on the basis of a bilateral agreement with concrete goals set in advance, he said, adding that Hungary already had the resources for that aid in its central budget at hand.
Touching on the issue of the global minimum corporate tax, Varga noted that at 9%, Hungary’s tax rate was one of the lowest. The international attempt to introduce a global minimum tax would raise that to 15%, he said. Such a step would cost jobs and harm the country’s competitiveness, and so Hungary does not support it, he said.