EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn told the European Parliament that Hungary has not yet met the conditions for receiving EU funds. With billions at stake, the Orbán government therefore faces new budgetary challenges, Euronews reports.
The Austrian politician said that Hungary has so far failed to meet the expectations at the level expected. He added that the European Commission is not blocking the agreement and that the conditions have not been changed.
“We have made it crystal clear what we expect. We have said it several times and we have also communicated our list of expectations, which has always been the same. Nobody can say we have not been clear,” said the EU commissioner.
He said that as the rule-of-law process has no specific deadline, it could take up to 2024 for this to be completed. Hahn said there was also a real risk that Hungarian students would be left out of the Erasmus program, as the government has until mid-July to resolve the conflict of interest over foundation universities.
“I have made it clear on several occasions that there is a real risk that students from the universities concerned will not be able to participate in the program in the coming semesters,” Hahn said.
Hungary has been frozen out of billions in EU funding, with Brussels arguing the country is failing to meet rule-of-law requirements related to democracy and corruption. Recently, the EU has been embroiled in a major corruption scandal in which MEPs were raided by Belgian police and accused of accepting millions of euros in bribes, which police recovered in suitcases and other bags.
Hungary has long argued that the EU has been turning the screws on the country over its stance on immigration and conservative values.
In an interview from 2020, Justice Minister Judit Varga described Hungary as being treated like “a black sheep only because of its rejection of immigration.” The issue of immigration is now of fundamental importance for an EU that increasingly embraces open borders and a liberal migration policy, despite a wave of terror attacks and rising crime tied to uncontrolled mass migration.