The EU Commission has triggered a new mechanism which could see billions of euros allocated for Hungary. The bloc has for years accused Budapest of undermining democracy and violating LGBT rights.
Speaking in the European parliament on Tuesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen explained that the European Commission and the Hungarian leadership have “not been able to find common ground” on the issue of anti-corruption reforms. She added that Budapest’s response to a formal notice on the matter did not leave the EU top body with any other option but to move on “to the next step.”
“The Commission has today told the Hungarian authorities that we will now send a formal letter to start the conditionality mechanism,” she said, referring to the instrument adopted in late 2020 and allowing the bloc to withhold aid funding from a member that is found to be failing to adhere to the union’s democratic principles.
The announcement on triggering the conditionality mechanism came two days after Viktor Orban’s Fidesz-KDNP enjoyed a fourth consecutive landslide win in last weekend’s election. The victory prompted Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, to call on the European Commission to accept “the basic rules of democracy” and “not to punish Hungarian voters for expressing an opinion not to Brussels’ taste.” Gulyas was apparently referring to harsh criticism of Orban’s policies by the EU leadership.