The European Commission Thursday adopted an agreement suspending €22 billion under the EU Cohesion Fund from Hungary until it implements key programs in keeping with the rule of law and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Reforms include “structural and horizontal” changes to judicial independence, child protection, academic freedom and protections for asylum seekers.
The EU Cohesion Fund provides financial support for EU nations that are in the bottom 10 percent of gross national income per capita, indicating the importance of these funds for Hungary. The funds are meant to be aimed at “strengthening Hungary’s administrative capacity, transparency and prevention of corruption.” Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira added such goals cannot be effectively met unless the “rules and values” of the EU are foremost in the implementation.
This agreement follows months of discussion and action regarding Hungary. In July, Hungary introduced a law which the Commission stated was discriminatory to LGBTQ people. The Commission referred Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to respond to concerns about the law adequately. The Commission also withheld €7.5 billion from Hungary at the end of November after it concluded Hungary failed to meet requirements regarding judicial review.