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27 feb 18
27 feb 18
Hungary: the financial consequences of a crumbling rule of law

In recent years, it has become clear that the Hungarian Orbán-government does not pay much attention to the European values, such as the rule of law. Local NGOs are attacked when they work on human rights or when they criticise the government. The Central European University, a place of academic freedom and critical thinking, is at risk of closing its doors. There is a severe violation of the rights of migrants, asylum seekers and minorities, and the media freedom is under pressure. Moreover, the independence of the judiciary is eroding quickly. Sophie In ‘t Veld will continue her efforts to raise these issues within the European Parliament.

One element is receiving less attention in the public domain, namely the fraud, corruption and the mismanagement of taxpayers’ money. Hungary receives a lot of funding from the EU: 50% of the public investments depend on EU subsidies. Hungary is at the same time the member state with the highest amount of corrections on the management of EU funding. A recent report of the European Parliament shows that Hungary breaches procurement laws, does not provide for transparency of their handling of EU subsidy, and is suffering from corruption. Investigations of European anti-fraud office OLAF are also ongoing. Messages continue to appear within the media about dubious contacts between the Orbán-government, wealthy oligarchs and offshore funds. The government uses tax money to launch anti-European and xenophobic media campaigns. In addition, the Hungarian Central Bank violates the EU Treaty by its direct monetary financing of pro-government foundations.

All of these issues are interlinked: these financial irregularities also demonstrate the absence of respect for the rule of law. The Hungarian government cares just as much for the rights of its citizens as it does about the correct spending of their tax contributions.

Sophie in ‘t Veld has previously asked written questions to the Commission to address these issues. She also asked the president of the European Central Bank - Mario Draghi - for a clarification about the monetary financing structures of the Hungarian Central Bank in the European Parliament. She did this following a previous, rather unclear, answer of the ECB. Recently, she asked new written questions to both the ECB and the Commission (see below).

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