Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the Commission, is used to congratulating European Heads of State or Government when they win an election. The nationalist Viktor Orban, whom the Hungarians largely renewed as head of the Executive on Sunday, April 3, has not, for the moment, had the right to this mark of attention. “These things are done when the government is confirmed by Parliament,” We explain to the Commission. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, during a question and answer session in the European Parliament, Angela Merkel’s former Defense Minister did not hesitate to declare hostilities against Budapest open.
The Commission, he announced, is preparing to launch an unprecedented procedure against Hungary that allows the suspension of the payment of European funds in the event of violations of the rule of law. This earned him applause in the hemicycle in Strasbourg.
It must be said that MEPs, like their colleagues in the European Commission or the Council, did not appreciate the speech that Viktor Orban gave on Sunday afternoon after his re-election. “We will remember this victory for the rest of our lives, because we had to fight against a lot of opponents,” he said, quoting “the Hungarian and international left”, the “bureaucrats” of Brussels, the international media, “and the Ukrainian president too”.
Budapest denounces an “error”
European Budget Commissioner, Johannes Hahn “I spoke with the Hungarian authorities today and informed them that we will now send the formal notification letter to activate the mechanism”, Thus opening a procedure that should last between six and nine months, explained Ursula von der Leyen. The content of the letter is not yet known, but in a previous letter sent in November 2021 to Budapest, the Commission had expressed concern about problems with public procurement, conflicts of interest and corruption.
Gergely Gulyas, Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, was quick to react, calling it” error ” Brussels decision. before asking “to the European Commission not to punish Hungarian voters for not having expressed an opinion to the liking of Brussels during the elections” Sunday.
In force since 1is January 2021, this mechanism has never been used, despite repeated pressure from the European Parliament. Indeed, the Twenty-seven had agreed to wait for the Court of Justice of the European Union, to which Budapest and Warsaw have submitted on this issue, to confirm its legality. Which was done on February 16. The Commission was then ready to activate the mechanism against two countries: Poland, which does not guarantee the independence of justice, and Hungary, where the fight against corruption is largely insufficient.
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