clearn.png
Friday December 2nd, 2022 1:53AM

EU proposes to suspend billions in funds to Hungary

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s executive branch recommended Sunday that the bloc suspend around 7.5 billion euros (dollars) in funding to Hungary over concerns about democratic backsliding and the possible mismanagement of EU money.

The European Commission, which proposes the bloc's laws and ensures that they are respected, said it was acting “to ensure the protection of the EU budget and the financial interests of the EU against breaches of the principles of the rule of law in Hungary.”

EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn said that despite measures Hungary has proposed to address the deficiencies, the commission is recommending the suspension of funds “amounting to an estimated amount of 7.5 billion euros.”

The money would come from “cohesion funds” granted to Hungary. This envelope of money, one of the biggest slices of the bloc's budget, helps countries to bring their economies and infrastructure up to EU standards.

EU countries pay around 1% of their gross national income into the budget. Hungary is slated to receive at least 50 billion euros in all from the 2021-27 budget, according to commission estimates.

Any action to suspend the funds must be approved by the EU member countries, and this requires a “qualified majority,” which amounts to 55% of the 27 members representing at least 65% of the total EU population.

They have one month to decide whether to freeze Hungary's funds, but can in exceptional circumstances extend that period to two months. The commission is recommending that the member countries take until Nov. 19 to allow Hungary more time to address the concerns.

The commission has for nearly a decade accused Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban of dismantling democratic institutions, taking control of the media and infringing on minority rights. Orban, who has been in office since 2010, denies the accusations.

Speaking after a meeting of EU commissioners in Brussels, which unanimously endorsed the move, Hahn welcomed Hungary’s offer to fix the problem, saying that its proposed remedial action goes “in the right direction.”

He said the measures could address some of the commission’s concerns if they are followed up, and properly acted upon. But he said that “a risk for the budget at this stage remains, therefore we cannot conclude that the EU budget is sufficiently protected.”

The commission’s fears focus on public procurement — purchases by the state of goods and services or for the execution of projects using EU funds. Critics say the awarding of such contracts have allowed Orban’s government to channel large sums of EU money into the businesses of politically connected insiders.

A senior EU official pointed to “systematic and systemic irregularities, deficiencies and weaknesses in public procurement related to very high rates of single bidding.” Officials estimate that around half of Hungary’s public tenders are granted after single bidder processes.

The commission also has “serious concerns regarding the detection, prevention and correction of conflicts of interest,” as well as about a number of public interest trusts which manage significant funds, and notably in the area of education.

Hungarian media has reported that Orban's nationalist government is set to announce new legislation as soon as Monday. EU lawmakers expressed concern last week that this may just be a ploy to gain time.

In a resolution on Thursday, the lawmakers said that Hungary’s nationalist government is deliberately trying to undermine the bloc’s democratic values.

They said that the government in Budapest — which Orban characterizes as an “illiberal democracy” — has become “a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy.” In part, they blame EU member countries for this, for turning a blind eye to possible abuses.

The French Greens parliamentarian who chaperoned the resolution through the assembly, Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, said that “for the first time, an EU institution is stating the sad truth, that Hungary is no longer a democracy.”

The case, launched by the commission against Hungary in April, is a fresh step in the use of a new mechanism allowing the EU to take action to protect its budget. It does not target member countries for general breaches of EU law.

The mechanism is seen as the EU’s most potent weapon to prevent a worsening anti-democratic drift in some countries. Commission officials have said that Hungary has consistently failed to implement EU recommendations for more than 10 years.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online President, White House, advisers News, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Live updates: London prepares for 1M visitors for funeral
London’s transport authority says it is preparing for around 1 million people to visit the British capital Monday for Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral
6:19AM ( 12 minutes ago )
EU proposes to suspend billions in funds to Hungary
The European Union’s executive branch has recommended that the bloc suspend around 7.5 billion euros (dollars) in funding to Hungary
6:17AM ( 14 minutes ago )
Strong Taiwan earthquake traps people, derails train
A strong earthquake has shaken much of Taiwan, toppling at least one building and trapping two people inside and knocking part of a passenger train off its tracks at a station
6:03AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Prospect of far-right female premier divides Italian women
Italy could be on the verge of electing its first woman premier
2:49AM ( 3 hours ago )
Royal lying in state rituals endure despite changing times
When Queen Elizabeth II’s grandfather King George V died in 1936 life in Britain is unrecognizable to people today
2:24AM ( 4 hours ago )
Near the Russian border, bodies still lie on the battlefield
There are still bodies on the battlefield, lying where they fell on farm fields or inside burned-out tanks as Ukrainian troops swept through a Russian-occupied border area in a major counteroffensive this month
2:15AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP National News
Puerto Rico girds for possible hurricane as TS Fiona nears
Tropical Storm Fiona is heading for Puerto Rico and forecasters are warning it likely will grow into a hurricane before hitting on Sunday with extremely heavy rains
11:04PM ( 7 hours ago )
For Russia's Putin, military and diplomatic pressures mount
Pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin has mounted on the battlefield and in the halls of global power
5:34PM ( 12 hours ago )
Queen's 8 grandchildren hold silent vigil beside her coffin
All eight of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren have stood in silent vigil beside her coffin, capping another huge day in which thousands came to pay their respects to the monarch
5:18PM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Pelosi, other US lawmakers visit Armenia as cease-fire holds
A U.S. congressional delegation headed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has arrived in Armenia
2:25PM ( 16 hours ago )
Yeshiva University halts clubs amid high court LGBTQ ruling
Yeshiva University has abruptly suspended student club activity in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this week that ordered the school to recognize for now an LGBTQ student group
11:04AM ( 19 hours ago )
Thousands wait in cold to pay respects to Queen Elizabeth II
Thousands of people have spent London’s coldest night in months huddled in line to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II
7:45AM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Census meddling is targeted in bill, recommendations
Democratic lawmakers are intent on making sure that unprecedented efforts by the Trump administration to politicize the 2020 census never happen again
1:59PM ( 4 days ago )
Court rehears fight over vaccine mandate for federal workers
The question of whether the Biden administration can require federal employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 has been argued in an appeals court in New Orleans for a second time
1:23PM ( 4 days ago )
Loss of unifying queen could fray the bonds of fractious UK
Queen Elizabeth II has been likened to the invisible glue holding the United Kingdom together
10:24AM ( 5 days ago )
AP Online President, White House, advisers News
Live updates: Beatrice, Eugenie praise queen for her support
Prince Andrew's daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, have issued a touching statement mourning the loss of their grandmother and praising her for the support and guidance she gave them
3:32PM ( 14 hours ago )
Architect Vlado Milunić dies at 81; linked to Prague icon
Vlado Milunić, a Czech architect of Croatian ancestry who co-designed Prague’s iconic Dancing House building together with colleague Frank Gehry, has died at 81
2:41PM ( 15 hours ago )
Queen's death both challenge and reprieve for new UK leader
British Prime Minister Liz Truss took office less than two weeks ago, impatient to set her stamp on government
1:52PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Business
Hungary faces reckoning with EU that could cost it billions
Hungary's nationalist-populist government is facing a reckoning with the European Union after nearly a decade of accusations that it has failed to uphold the EU's democratic values
4:29AM ( 1 day ago )
Witness questioned about Jones criticism of Sandy Hook trial
Alex Jones' criticism of his trial in Connecticut over calling the Sandy Hook school shooting a hoax has become a topic of the proceedings
8:08PM ( 1 day ago )
Court rules in favor of Texas law on social media regulation
A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a Texas law targeting major social media companies like Facebook and Twitter
7:31PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Live updates: London prepares for 1M visitors for funeral
London’s transport authority says it is preparing for around 1 million people to visit the British capital Monday for Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral
6:19AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Strong Taiwan earthquake traps people, derails train
A strong earthquake has shaken much of Taiwan, toppling at least one building and trapping two people inside and knocking part of a passenger train off its tracks at a station
6:03AM ( 28 minutes ago )
By the numbers: Facts and figures about the queen's funeral
Events surrounding Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral on Monday cap 10 days of national mourning and are expected to be watched by hundreds of thousands of people packed onto the streets of London and millions around the world
5:35AM ( 56 minutes ago )
UK: Russia likely to step up Ukraine civilian target attacks
Officials say Russian shelling hit cities and towns across a wide stretch of Ukraine during the night
5:30AM ( 1 hour ago )
World leaders head to London for Queen Elizabeth II funeral
Thousands of police, hundreds of troops and an army of officials are making final preparations for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II
5:27AM ( 1 hour ago )