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15th Aug 2022

EU should freeze all funds to Hungary, says study

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The European Commission should suspend 100 percent of EU funds to Hungary, say MEPs citing a legal study.

"It's a little over €6bn per year," German Green MEP Daniel Freund told reporters in Strasbourg on Wednesday (6 July).

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The statement was backed by MEPs from the centre-right EPP, socialist S&D and the liberal Renew Europe.

It comes after the European Commission in April launched a rule of law probe against Hungary.

The probe was triggered after intense pressure from the European Parliament.

The commission will next have to determine the infractions against Hungary.

"The biggest question is how much money will the commission suggest to freeze," said Freund.

Finnish centre-right MEP Petri Sarvamaa said it should be 100 percent of the EU funding going to Hungary.

So too did liberal Renew Europe Moritz Körner and Spanish socialist Eider Gardiazabal.

Sarvamaa said the cross-party agreement counters the Hungarian government's narrative the commission probe is part of a leftist and politically driven plot.

"If you're looking here on the stage, how serious can that argument be," he said, in a nod to his centre-right party ties.

Sarvamaa also voiced frustration at European Commission president Von der Leyen for dragging out the probe.

"The commission looking back was not up to the job," he said.

All four MEPs made their statements, while presenting a 36-page legal analysis on the issue.

The study, which was carried out by three law professors, made the case that the commission should suspend 100-percent of the EU funds towards Hungary.

It said Hungarian rule of law breaches are "so fundamental, frequent or widespread they represent a complete failure of the budgetary implementation and monitoring system in a member state."

It notes, among other things, that Hungary's track record of mismanagement of EU funds dates back over a decade.

The authors describe Hungarian corruption like contaminated water that flows through lead pipes.

"Delivery of that water for human consumption should be suspended until the poisonous lead pipes are replaced," it said.

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