The delegation of the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control called on the Hungarian government to act more responsibly in distributing EU funds, include regional authorities in decision-making instead of a “top-down” approach and meet the criteria required for releasing the funds withheld from Hungary, the head of the delegation told a press conference on Wednesday.
An effective implementation of the 27 “super milestones” defined earlier and the related 17 remedial measures under the conditionality regulation is required for unblocking the 28 billion euros which is more than 10,000 billion forints in EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) funding, Monika Hohlmeier, the head of the delegation, said after the conclusion of their three-day visit to Hungary. EU funds “represent a very big opportunity for the development of Hungary”, she said, noting however the committee’s “core concern is how the money can reach Hungarian citizens, businesses and regions”. Hohlmeier said the committee has identified shortcomings, noting that the State Audit Office could not provide information on the use of 1.48 billion euros in 29 cases over which concerns had been raised before. The delegation head also noted the committee’s concern over the implementation of public procurements in line with free market rules and over failure in involving local governments and civil organisations in the distribution of EU funds. She raised concern over government measures distorting competition such as the introduction of “unfair special taxes”, “arbitrary change of laws” without preliminary consultation and intimidation. She raised further concern over ad hoc decision-making, referring to the amendment of the budget law in a decision made “overnight”. Hohlmeier said the committee noticed several positive developments such as the setting up of the Integrity Authority, reforms at the tax office and the strengthening of the national judicial council.
Tamás Deutsch, an MEP or ruling Fidesz, said the delegation’s visit was “part of Brussels’s exerting political pressure” on the Hungarian government. He noted that the committee had no “powers of an authority over Hungary” therefore “it will do neither good nor harm what they do”. Deutsch suggested the committee had come to Budapest “to increase the pressure and force Hungary into the war in Ukraine”. He also insisted that “Brussels does not like that Hungarian voters had said no to illegal migration in a referendum, and that Hungary had adopted a very rigorous child protection law to prevent the sexualisation of minors”. The EU expects member states to adopt a pro-migration stance and would “make the gender ideology madness the norm in Europe”. “But we say no war, no migration, no gender,” the MEP said.