Brussels attacks Hungary and spares Poland

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, before the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 5 April 2022.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is used to congratulating European heads of state and government when they win an election. Nationalist Viktor Orban, whom the Hungarians largely renewed at the head of the executive branch on Sunday, April 3, has not been entitled to this sign of attention at this point. “These things are done when the government is confirmed by the parliament”, we explain to the Commission. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, during a question-and-answer session in the European Parliament, former defense minister Angela Merkel did not hesitate to declare open hostilities against Budapest.

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The Commission, she announced, is opening an unprecedented procedure against Hungary, which could suspend payment of European funds in the event of violations of the rule of law. This earned him a round of applause in the meeting room in Strasbourg.

It must be said that MEPs, like their colleagues from the European Commission or the Council, did not appreciate Viktor Orban’s speech after his re-election on Sunday evening. “We will remember this victory for the rest of our lives, because we had to fight against a large number of opponents”, he said, quoting “Hungarian and International Left”, the “bureaucrats” from Brussels, the international media, “and the Ukrainian president too”

Budapest denounces a “mistake”

European Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn “I spoke with the Hungarian authorities today and informed them that we will now send the letter of formal notice to activate the mechanism,” thereby opening a procedure that should take between six and nine months, Ursula von der Leyen detailed. The content of the message is not yet known, but in an earlier letter sent to Budapest in November 2021, the Commission had expressed concerns about public procurement issues, conflicts of interest and corruption.

Gergely Gulyas, Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, responded quickly, calling it a” error ” the decision of Brussels. before asking “to the European Commission not to penalize Hungarian voters for not expressing themselves to the taste of Brussels during the elections” Sunday.

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Effective since 1er In January 2021, despite repeated pressure from the European Parliament, this mechanism was never used. The Twenty-seven had indeed agreed to wait for the Court of Justice of the European Union, which has indicted Budapest and Warsaw on the subject, to confirm its legality. That happened on February 16. The Commission was then ready to activate the mechanism against two countries: Poland, which does not guarantee the independence of the judiciary, and Hungary, where the fight against corruption is largely insufficient.

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