EU wants to cut funds to Hungary

EU Commission President von der Leyen plans to launch proceedings against Hungary for violations against the rule of law following the summer break. According to a new report there are more than enough grounds to do so. Hungary, which recently ruffled Brussels' feathers with a new anti-LGBT law, is now facing funding cuts. Commentators shed light on the motives and tactics of both sides.

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Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Don’t wait to pull the plug

Waiting until autumn to take action is leaving things too late, Frankfurter Rundschau warns:

“Hungary is due to receive 7.2 billion euros from the EU just for Covid-19 recovery funds. ... The first instalment of more than 900 million Euros could be handed over before the summer break. The EU Commission should not transfer the money. This would send a clear message to Orbán and a clear signal to European taxpayers. It is they, after all, who are carrying the costs of rebuilding after the pandemic, as the President of the Commission von der Leyen rightly noted.”

Magyar Nemzet (HU) /

Improper intervention

The pro-government Magyar Nemzet sees pure politicking behind the approach:

“[The European progressives] want the EU institutions to oppose the Hungarian government using sanctions. ... In other words, they want them to intervene in the 2022 parliamentary elections by withdrawing money.”

Magyar Hang (HU) /

Blatant double standards

Magyar Hang is not convinced by the Hungarian government's demands for respect:

“It's amazing to see how the supporters of Hungary's (sham) democracy, which is teetering towards autocracy, become passionate advocates of consensual decision-making at an EU level. The Orbán government and its huge media machinery are always attacking their domestic political opponents and their chosen targets, trampling on human dignity. ... This is double standards à la Fidesz: the very same party that denies respect to anyone who expresses even the mildest criticism against it is demanding respect for itself.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

Orbán is calling Europe's bluff

Commenting in La Libre Belgique, Hungary expert Zsuzsanna Szelényi says this is nothing but a cynical diversionary tactic:

“The Fidesz party has approved a budget which allows the government to offer unlimited sums of money to the Hungarians before the elections. It has created a foundation to open a private campus for the Chinese Fudan University in Budapest while the Hungarian universities are being denied access to state and European research funds. And it has created foundations to run state property, such as universities and motorways. ... These foundations are creating a state within a state that will prevent a new government from governing the country if Fidesz loses the elections. ... But none of these laws have attracted any protest whatsoever from either Ursula von der Leyen, the US State Department or the German government. Because they've all been too busy condemning the anti LGBT laws.”