Hungary’s Procurement Milestones Not Met
The European Commission has recently presented an assessment under the procedure to Hungary that we covered recently here. The Commission found that, notwithstanding steps taken, there is still a continued risk to the EU budget given, that remedial measures still need to be fulfilled.
While reforms were supposedly underway, the Commission has advised that Hungary has still failed to implement the key 17 remedial measures agreed under the general conditionality, with its deadline of 19 November.
The results of the announcement is the the Commission will continue with its suspension of 65% of the commitments for three operational programmes under cohesion policy, amounting to €7.5 billion. The Council will now have until 19 December to vote on the matter, requiring a majority for the suspension of funds to enter into force.
The Commission, after ensuring essential milestones on judicial independence and protecting the EU budget were included, has also decided today to endorse Hungary’s Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), conditioned on the full implementation of the required milestones. This means that no payment under the RRF is possible until Hungary has fully and correctly implemented these 27 “super milestones”.
While the Hungarian Governments plan includes devoting 48% of it’s total allocation to measures that support climate change, and 29% of the allocation to supporting digital transition, the key focus of the plan is for institutional reforms to protect the financial interests of the Union and reinforce the fight against corruption, promoting competitive public procurements and strengthening the independence of the judiciary.
The Council now has until the 19 December to take a decision on the Commission proposal.The Commission will also keep the European Parliament informed and have advise they will stay in close and constructive contact with the Hungarian authorities to continue to work on the swift and substantial resolution of the concerns identified under both procedures.
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