Following the demand of Renew Europe MEPs last week, calling for the approval of the Hungarian government’s recovery plan to be withheld until an effective anti-fraud system is put in place, Renew Europe welcomes the news that the Commission will in all likelihood postpone the approval of the plan.
Dacian Cioloș, President of Renew Europe, said:
“The Commission has taken a step in the right direction. But the idea is not to delay for the sake of delay. Solid guarantees are now needed, as they are for all countries, because today we have no guarantees the money will benefit honest and deserving Hungarian citizens.’
Renew Europe MEPs have consistently argued that an effective anti-fraud system is a criteria to access the recovery funds under the “Recovery and Resilience Facility” regulation.
Dacion Cioloș continued: ‘One of the conditions that a Member State must meet in order to access the stimulus money, is that it has a reliable and robust anti-corruption system in place. This is not the case in Viktor Orbán’s Hungary. In 2021, the European Commission observed that the corruption of the Orbán regime is “systemic”.’
In their letter last week, Renew Europe MEPs demanded that Viktor Orbán agrees to grant the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) access to the list of final beneficiaries of the plan and that persons and entities with a record of serious financial irregularities or conflicts of interest should be denied from receiving RRF funds. Laws obstructing investigative journalists and civil society organisations from accessing public information must be repealed or revised.
‘Not approving the Hungarian recovery plan is not “punishing” Hungary, but punishing Orbán. Hungarian citizens are not fooled. 87% of them think that the regime is corrupt. There is a growing sense of discontent in Budapest, and European money must no longer be used to sustain this problem.’