Published: December 17 2023
The European Commission has suspended billions of euros in funding for Hungary due to concerns over the country's judicial independence. This funding freeze affects three Cohesion Policy programs, totaling 6.3 billion euros, and leaves Hungary without access to those funds.
Commitments in the Recovery and Resilience Plan
Hungary had committed to 27 "super milestones" in its Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), which included measures to protect the EU's financial interests and strengthen judicial independence. However, the Commission states that these milestones have not been fully complied with, resulting in the suspension of payment requests. The funding that remains locked for Hungary amounts to around 21 billion euros.
Concerns Regarding Judicial Independence and Other Areas
While Hungary has made some progress in addressing concerns about judicial independence, the European Commission still has concerns regarding other areas covered by the horizontal enabling condition on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. These concerns include Hungary's child-protection law, risks to academic freedom, and the right to asylum. Until these concerns are addressed, the Commission cannot reimburse the related expenditure under several programs.
The European Commission's funding freeze for Hungary highlights the ongoing concerns regarding the country's judicial independence and other fundamental rights issues. Hungary must address these concerns in order to regain access to the suspended funds.
Questions & Answers
What is the current funding situation between the European Commission and Hungary? As of now, billions of euros in funding from the European Commission remain suspended for Hungary. The Commission is not able to propose lifting or adapting the measures against Hungary, which means that three Cohesion Policy programmes, with a budget of 6.3 billion euros, are still suspended and Hungary does not have access to those funds. Overall, the funding that remains locked for Hungary amounts to around 21 billion euros.
What commitments did Hungary make in the recovery and resilience plan (RRP)? In the Hungarian recovery and resilience plan, Hungary committed to 27 "super milestones." These milestones are aimed at protecting the EU's financial interests and strengthening judicial independence. Four of the milestones specifically focus on judicial independence, which are in line with the measures requested by the European Commission. The remaining 21 milestones correspond to remedial measures under the budget conditionality mechanism.
Why are the funds suspended and not being paid out to Hungary? The funds are suspended and not being paid out to Hungary because the super milestones outlined in the recovery and resilience plan have not been fully complied with. Due to this lack of compliance, no payment requests can be paid out at the moment. The European Commission maintains concerns regarding areas covered by the horizontal enabling condition on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, such as Hungary's child-protection law, risks to academic freedom, and the right to asylum. Until these concerns are addressed, the horizontal enabling condition remains unfulfilled, and the Commission cannot reimburse the related expenditure under several programmes.
What are the specific concerns of the European Commission regarding Hungary? The European Commission has concerns regarding Hungary's so-called child-protection law, serious risks to academic freedom, and the right to asylum. These concerns are related to the horizontal enabling condition on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Commission maintains these concerns despite Hungary's progress on judicial independence.
How much funding remains locked for Hungary? Currently, around 21 billion euros in funding remains locked for Hungary. This refers to the funding that the European Commission cannot reimburse or allocate to Hungary due to the unresolved concerns and lack of compliance with the super milestones.