"Finally, the Commission uses the teeth we gave them", says Petri Sarvamaa, the EPP Group's spokesman in the Committee for Budgetary Control, following today's proposal from the European Commission to withhold EU funding for Hungary.
"Seven to eight billion Euro isn't peanuts. Together with the money withheld from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), this sum would hurt the Hungarian government. The proposed measures are a step in the right direction, but I would have expected an even stricter line with the demands. It is abundantly clear that Hungary will complete the list of requirements on paper. The real question is how the Commission will ensure that the measures are actually implemented in the Hungarian system and whether the risk of the misuse of EU funds decreases", adds Sarvamaa, who was the European Parliament's lead-negotiator for EU's rule of law conditionality regulation, the legal basis for today's proposal.
"Hungary has promised year after year to improve the state of its rule of law, but without success. The Commission must not be fooled once again with empty promises. In blatant cases, more tools for intervening in the internal situation of the Member States are needed. One of the objectives of the conditionality regulation is also to act as a preventive factor,” Sarvamaa added.
Jeroen Lenaers, the EPP Group's Spokesman on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs said:
"Only significant, tangible and lasting progress in rebuilding democratic and anti-corruption safeguards should enable the release of EU taxpayers’ money. Declarations and the creation of working groups and frameworks are not sufficient and risk being empty shells. No one will buy another peacock dance by Mr Orban. Over the years, the Fidesz government consistently dismantled democratic institutions and rule of law, thereby exposing EU and public funds to corruption. Therefore, I am not yet very convinced that Mr Orban has any intention of making a U-turn and repairing the damage he has caused to Hungary and its society."
Note to editors
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 176 Members from all EU Member States