The Hungarian government achieved partial success in the negotiations with the European Commission, according to Index, the recovery plan submitted by the cabinet and the operational programs are approved in Brussels; they accept the seventeen corrective measures undertaken and completed, but EU money is only disbursed if Budapest implements further judicial reforms. According to our information, the Hungarian government has undertaken to implement the requested justice-related corrections by March 31. After that, there is no obstacle to the arrival of the expected EU funds.
We do not know exactly which judicial issue was left open during the negotiations, but Gergely Gulyás, the minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office, revealed in the November 9 Government Information that part of the judicial changes requested by the European Commission is the strengthening of the powers of the National Judicial Council (OBT). .
The government has also guaranteed that it will respect the independence of the OBT, increase its budget, and ask for its opinion on any changes to the law that affect the courts. In addition, the OBT will also have the power to propose amendments to the law to the government.
Big changes are expected at the Supreme Court, i.e. at the Kúria as well. The OBT is also authorized to give an opinion on the suitability of the persons nominated by the government as members of the Curia. Budapest has also promised to respect the independence of the Court, as well as to give the judges the opportunity to officially refer to the Court of the European Union on certain issues affecting European law.
Finally, the government even undertook to deprive all government bodies of the right to challenge the final judgments of the Constitutional Court. The government undertook to discuss these changes with the civil organizations responsible for the matter, and they promised that all of this would become law by March 31, 2023.
The seventeen corrective measures undertaken previously:
- Strengthening the prevention, detection and correction of violations and irregularities related to the implementation of EU funds through the newly established Integrity Authority.
- Creation of the Anti-Corruption Working Group.
- Strengthening the anti-corruption framework.
- Ensuring the transparency of the use of EU support by public interest asset management foundations.
- The introduction of a special procedure to be applied in the case of special crimes related to the exercise of public authority or the management of public property.
- Strengthening audit and control mechanisms to ensure proper use of EU support.
- Reducing the proportion of single-bid public procurement procedures financed by EU funds.
- Reducing the proportion of single-bid public procurement procedures financed from the national budget.
- Development of a reporting tool for monitoring and reporting public procurement procedures concluded with a single offer.
- Development of the Electronic Public Procurement System (EKR) to increase transparency.
- Development of a performance measurement framework that evaluates the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of public procurement.
- Adoption of an action plan to increase the level of public procurement competition.
- Training on public procurement practices to be provided to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
- Development of a support system to reimburse the costs of participation of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in public procurement.
- Application of Arachne.
- Strengthening cooperation with OLAF.
- Adoption of legislation to ensure increased transparency of public spending.
They can decide on December 6
Earlier, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung about it wrotethe Hungarian government must expect billions to be withdrawn from the EU budget within the foreseeable future.
According to the newspaper, the commission came to the conclusion that Hungary did not sufficiently fulfill its reform promises in the fight against corruption. The committee will therefore recommend to the member states at the meeting on Wednesday next week to freeze 7.5 billion euros from three cohesion programs. In addition, the disbursement of 5.8 billion euros from the reconstruction fund is tied to these points and further judicial reforms.
This could mean, the German newspaper claims, that on December 6 the EU finance ministers will decide on the recommendation to freeze 7.5 billion euros from the regular budget, as well as on the adoption of the reconstruction plan containing the milestones of the rule of law reform – in both cases with a qualified majority, FAZ reports. In this way, they will retain their influence to dissuade Budapest from vetoing the introduction of the minimum tax imposed on multinational companies, the newspaper believes.
According to FAZ information, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen informed the group leaders of the European Parliament about this on Tuesday, and the vast majority of the parliament insisted on a hard-line policy.
(Cover image: Index)