Parliament threatens to take the Commission to the Court of Justice of the EU for the release of funds to Hungary

Parliament threatens to take the Commission to the Court of Justice of the EU for the release of funds to Hungary

In an institutional clash between the European Commission and the European Parliament, the European Parliament is preparing to take the Executive of the Union to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) due to the release of 10.2 billion euros of European funds to Hungary.

This decision has generated concern among MEPs, as they consider that Viktor Orbán’s government has undermined European values in the country.

Despite the criticism, member states have yet to take action to sanction Hungary, prompting the European Parliament to demand a determination as to whether the country has committed serious and persistent violations of EU values.

Confrontation between Orbán and the European Parliament

Viktor Orbán’s confrontation with the European Parliament has numerous chapters. MEPs launched a sanction procedure against Hungary in 2018, which could result in the suspension of the country’s voting rights in the EU Council.

The move follows accusations that Hungary has undermined judicial independence, failed to fight corruption and infringed on the rights of minorities, such as the LGBTI community.

Despite these accusations, member states have not taken action to sanction Hungary, leading to frustration in the European Parliament.

Freezing of funds and unblocking process

Due to Hungary’s repeated attacks on European values and the rule of law, the European Commission and the EU Council have frozen some €21 billion in cohesion funds and the recovery plan.

The Commission initially blocked all cohesion fund resources, some €22 billion, for not meeting the minimum standards of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

However, after a year of negotiations between Brussels and Budapest, €10.2 billion was unblocked in December 2021 for the area of judicial independence. Still, Hungary must make further changes to access the other €10.8 billion in cohesion funds and an additional €10 billion for the recovery plan and the RepowerEU program.

European Parliament resolution and Orbán’s response

European Parliament adopted a resolution deploring the failure of the EU Council to move forward with the sanctions procedure against Hungary. The resolution demands that the European Council and Member States determine whether Hungary has committed serious and persistent violations of EU values.

In addition, Parliament has demanded that Hungary should not be allowed to chair the EU Council because of its attacks on European values and the rule of law. Faced with these accusations, Viktor Orbán has responded on social media, accusing MEPs of attacking Hungary and mentioning the blocking of the European budget review that would fund Ukraine.

Possible consequences and follow-up of the case

Clash between the European Parliament and the European Commission could have significant consequences in the future. If the CJEU determines that the unblocking of funds to Hungary is illegal, this could generate an important precedent in the area of judicial independence and respect for the rule of law in EU member countries.

In addition, tensions between Orbán and the European Parliament could increase, which could have repercussions for the relationship between Hungary and the EU as a whole. It is important to follow this case closely to understand how it develops and what impact it may have in the future.

Conclusion

Clash between the European Parliament and the European Commission over the release of funds to Hungary reflects the existing tensions between Viktor Orbán and the European institutions. Despite criticism and accusations of violations of European values, member states have not yet taken action to sanction Hungary.

The resolution passed by the European Parliament and the possible lawsuit before the CJEU could have significant consequences in the area of judicial independence and respect for the rule of law in the EU.