The wrangling, which has been dragging on for a year and a half now, ended today. The European Commission approved Hungary’s post-pandemic recovery plan, the EC’s Justice Commissioner told a press briefing. The decision will unblock 5.8 billion euros in non-refundable grants for the V4 state.
After a year and a half, the European Commission approved Hungary’s recovery plan, Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told a press conference on Wednesday.
The body can support the approval of Hungary’s plan under the condition of Hungary fulfilling rule of law milestones, the politician told journalists at the press briefing. He highlighted that the Hungarian plan contains a wide range of mutually reinforcing reforms and investments, all of which effectively contribute to addressing a significant number of economic and social challenges. Hungary’s plan can adequately contribute to the fulfillment of the 27 milestones set out in the regulation on the Recovery and Resilience Facility instrument, the politician said.
The European Commission is now forwarding the positive assessment of the Hungarian recovery plan to the Council of the European Union, the EU Commissioner said. The Council has four weeks to approve the implementing decision. The decree on the Recovery and Resilience Facility stipulates that 70 per cent of the subsidies granted to the member states must be committed before 31 December, he recalled.
The Brussels body maintains that another part, 7.5 billion euros of the recovery funds, shall be withheld as the body assessed that Hungary did not make adequate progress in implementing the reforms necessary to allay the concerns of the European Commission, the politician stated.
On 18 September, the European Commission proposed freezing the amount of EU funds available to Hungary due to concerns related to corruption and public procurement procedures. This was followed in April by the launch of the rule of law conditionality mechanism. After that, Hungary engaged in talks with the EC and then presented 17 measures aimed at eliminating the Commission’s concerns. The body is now forwarding its analysis on the implementation of the Hungarian measures to the European Council, comprised of the member countries’ heads of state and government. The final decision will be made by the Council by 19 December, based on the recommendation of the European Commission, the commissioner added.