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Hungary Welcomes EU’s Decision to Partially Unfreeze Stimulation Funds

© Sputnik / Yuriy Kaver / Go to the mediabankView of Budapest. (File)
View of Budapest. (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.12.2022
BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - Hungary welcomes the European Union’s decision to partially unfreeze its funds allocated for Budapest, Hungarian Minister of Justice Judit Varga said on Tuesday.
On November 30, the European Commission proposed to cancel its support payments to Hungary worth 7.5 billion euros ($7.8 billion), citing the alleged lack of progress on judicial reforms. On Monday, EU member states reportedly agreed to freeze only 6.3 billion euros in exchange for Budapest’s promise not to veto some proposals including support packages for Ukraine. The EU also agreed to unfreeze an additional 5.8 billion under the Recovery and Resilience Facility on the proviso that Budapest will reform its judicial system and strengthen corruption protection.
"Today, we woke up in Hungary with good news ... As for me, of course, I would like to see a 0% freeze, but I assume that this is a very constructive and important signal from member states that they have taken into account our arguments ... It is important that they have amended the European Commission’s proposal. This is a signal that the last word in the European Union belongs to the member countries themselves," Varga told reporters prior to the meeting of EU energy ministers in Brussels.
She noted that Hungary would make sure to comply with all remaining requirements by March 31, which would allow a complete unfreezing of funds.
In September, the Commission informed Hungary of its concerns over transparency and anti-corruption protection in the spending of the funds provided to Budapest by the EU. Hungary pressed for the creation of an Integrity Authority and its parliament adopted the relevant law on October 3, however the Commission remained unsatisfied with the country’s efforts.
Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest, Hungary - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.11.2022
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On December 2, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that the Commission wanted to influence Budapest’s stance on migration, sex education and sanctions against Russia, but promised that he would remain firm on these issues. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, in turn, said that Hungary must be ready for strong pressure from the EU, since Brussels and the "liberal propaganda machine" would resort to any means to change the country’s position on key topics.
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