Daniel Freund

29. January 2024 Anti-Corruption

Withdrawal of voting rights, freezing of all EU funds: Is the EU finally taking action against Viktor Orban?

According to media reports, EU member states are seemingly developing plans to revoke Viktor Orban’s voting rights and threaten to freeze all EU funds to Hungary. Politico (on Friday) and the Financial Times (on Monday) reported on corresponding initiatives. Apparently, there are member states in the Council that are in favor of and would promote such action against Viktor Orban’s government. The withdrawal of voting rights would require a unanimous vote in an Article 7 procedure against Hungary. The freezing of all EU funds would be possible within the framework of the rule of law mechanism against Hungary – but would require a corresponding procedure by the EU Commission. The threat of these actions has to be seen in the context of this week’s EU summit. Some EU member states are apparently no longer willing to make further financial concessions to the Orban government.

Daniel Freund, the Greens’ negotiator for the rule of law mechanism in the European Parliament, comments:

“Some member states are finally waking up. The withdrawal of voting rights and the freezing of all EU funds are the EU’s sharpest swords against a member state. The signal from Brussels to Viktor Orban would be clear: we will no longer be blackmailed with vetoes from Budapest. This step is right and long overdue. Viktor Orban cannot be rewarded with billions from Brussels for his veto. Nevertheless, it is questionable whether both procedures will ever really be applied in this form. Apparently, the aim is to crack Orban’s veto threat before the summit on Thursday. The right thing to do would be not to use either the Article 7 procedure or the rule of law mechanism for political purposes. The purpose of both procedures is to repair the rule of law in Hungary. This is precisely why they must be used. If the impression is now reinforced that this is only being done because of Orban’s veto, it would send the wrong signal to Hungary that it is possible to negotiate over the rule of law. Under no circumstances should these procedures be dropped if Viktor Orban caves in at the summit and gives the green light for EU aid to Ukraine.”

Report on the Article 7 procedure on POLITICO:


Report on the freezing of all EU funds to Hungary in the Financial Times:


The signal from Brussels to Viktor Orban would be clear: we will no longer be blackmailed with vetoes from Budapest.


The EU can be our best tool in the fight against corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. But it must also be used in the right way. In the future, the EU should fight corruption much more decisively. That is why I have set up an Intergroup against corruption in the European Parliament.