Viktor Orbán’s blackmails cannot determine Europe’s future

Author: Caroline Rhawi



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This week’s European Council comes at a moment of critical importance for the European Union. While uncertainty persists about Rule of Law reforms in Hungary, Renew Europe is clear that no funds subject to the conditionality mechanism should be released. Viktor Orbán must not be allowed to blackmail the Union and undermine Europe’s future, including a clear European path for Ukraine.

That is why Renew Europe repeats its call for Article 7 of the Treaties to be taken forward against Hungary. The Spanish Presidency has so far failed to further the procedure, triggered by the European Parliament in 2018. The implementation of Article 7 must be accompanied by a clear commitment to a Convention on the Future of Europe, necessary to reform the Union.

Stéphane Séjourné, President of Renew Europe, said:

“We are against the release of any European funds for Hungary. We have no guarantee that there will be a return to sustainable democracy in Hungary. The future of the European Union, Ukraine and Moldova cannot be held hostage by one man. Renew Europe calls for the Article 7 procedure to finally be taken forward."

"Ukraine is fighting for its very existence & the EU must uphold its promises to support it politically, financially and militarily. If this must be done by 26 Member States, so be it."

Katalin Cseh (Hungary, Momentum), Vice-President of Renew Europe and Renew Europe's shadow rapporteur on the Rule of Law conditionality mechanism in the Committee on Budgetary Control, said:

“A decision to disburse EU funds for the Hungarian government would raise concerns about the European Commission's commitment to upholding the rule of law. The European Parliament's thorough assessment revealed a clear discrepancy between proposed reforms and the judicial super-milestones set by the Commission. While some progress has been achieved under EU pressure, it is evident that Hungary does not currently meet the minimum standards of the rule of law. The Commission should also be aware of the timing: the so-called "sovereignty protection bill" is about to be passed, signalling a disturbing authoritarian turn, aiming to stifle dissent, intimidate critical voices, and undermine the foundations of democracy in Hungary. With its inconsistency, the Commission would threaten to encourage these autocratic transgressions. “

Moritz Körner (FDP, Germany), Renew Europe’s shadow rapporteur on the Rule of Law conditionality mechanism in the Committee on Budgets, said:

“We cannot give Viktor Orbán the opportunity to use corruptly diverted EU funds to keep his oligarch state alive. It would have been more appropriate to organise aid to Ukraine without Hungary, or to withdraw Hungary's voting rights under the Article 7 procedure, as the European Parliament has long been calling for. So far, Hungary has only delivered reforms on paper, and even then not sufficiently. The immediate transfer of EUR 500 million to Hungary and the reported release of EUR 10 billion is neither a legal nor a time-relevant necessity. "


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