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S&Ds: No EU money for Orbán’s government as long as it fails to respect the rule of law


24 Nov 2022


Global Europe

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament today voted in favour of a resolution deploring the Orbán government’s failure to adopt sufficient reforms on the rule of law in Hungary. The S&D Group’s view remains that no EU money should be released to a government that cannot guarantee funds are protected from misuse.

Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, S&D MEP and co-negotiator on the issue from the European Parliament committee on budgets, said:

“The Orbán government does not respect the rule of law and this is seriously affecting the financial interests of the Union.

“Of the seventeen measures agreed with the Orbán government, only three have been implemented, and half of them cannot even be evaluated as we don’t have sufficient information.

“In addition, if we analyse the seventeen measures, we can conclude that they are clearly insufficient.

“We simply cannot justify the release of funds. What message would we be sending if we give in to Orbán’s blackmail? 12 years of nonsense cannot be fixed in two months. Should we simply approve the recovery plan, in addition to giving him the 7.5 billion euros of cohesion funds? This would be neither understandable, nor acceptable nor justifiable. We have to be consistent with what we have been defending for the sake of the Union.”

Thijs Reuten, S&D spokesperson on Hungary for the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:

“The deadline for the Orbán government to restore rule of law has come and gone. The warning was obvious: no change means no EU funding. Now that the European Commission shares our view that Orbán’s cosmetic reforms fall far short, EU ministers should take the long-awaited decision to freeze EU funds until the risks of abuse and misuse are dealt with properly. Instead of being a constructive partner, Orbán is again playing dirty politics at the expense of Hungarians and millions of other Europeans, including Ukrainians, by blocking crucial decisions. Autocrats like Orbán will not stop unless we stop them together and protect democracy and freedom. The European Parliament is clear: there is no place for blackmail in the EU.”