Daniel Freund

27. April 2022 Anti-Corruption

EU triggers rule of law sanctions against Hungary: Stop sponsoring autocrats!

The EU Commission has today (Wednesday) launched an official sanctions procedure against Hungary. This move comes in reaction to the massive and continuous rule of law violations by Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The official letter, which triggers the rule of law mechanism, was sent to the government in Budapest today. It can ultimately lead to a freezing of all EU payments to Hungary.

Daniel Freund, Green member of the Budgetary Control Committee, which negotiated the rule of law mechanism, comments:

“After 12 years of Viktor Orban’s dismantling of democracy, the EU is finally getting serious. This step is historic. For the first time, the EU is threatening to cut off funds to a Member State if it does not put an end to its autocratic course and corruption.This is long overdue. The EU’s sponsorship of autocrats will soon come to an end. This is a huge success for the European Parliament.”

“Von der Leyen must now walk the talk and send a clear signal to Viktor Orban. The Commission itself has repeatedly documented the extent of corruption in Hungary. It is a matter of protecting many billions of euros from corruption, mismanagement and nepotism. What we now need is an effective intervention, no homeopathic sanctions.”

“The rule of law mechanism is not a Lex Orban. It is not only about the rule of law violations by the Hungarian government. EU Commission President Von der Leyen must protect the rule of law and European taxpayers’ money everywhere in the EU. The criteria are also fulfilled in Poland – the independence of the judiciary is no longer guaranteed. More than 1700 judges have been replaced within the last year alone, 20 judgements of European courts are currently being disregarded. The Commission must get serious in this case, too. Otherwise Von der Leyen will be accused of unequal treatment by Member States.”