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18th May, 2023

EP group objects to top-down approach in utilising EU funds

The delegation of the European Parliament’s budget supervisory committee urges the Hungarian government to involve affected parties in deciding how to use EU money, rather than imposing decisions from the top down, delegation leader Monika Hohlmeier told a press conference in Budapest on Wednesday.

The centre-right politician also exhorted the government to meet the conditions necessary for the release of EU funds, adding that “the future of euro 28 billion depends on whether the so-called 27 super-milestones and the related 17 adjustments negotiated will be met.

The EU funds set aside for Hungary constitute a great opportunity for the country, but the delegation has reservations about whether Hungarian citizens and entrepreneurs will be the beneficiaries, Hohlmeier added.

Among the problems, Hohlmeier listed the following:

- The Hungarian legislature is “very hasty and fast”. This year alone 95 budget amendments were approved that were not debated or about which the cabinet did not hold public consultations.

- Regional and municipal councils are not involved in development negotiations.

- Opposition-led local councils are at a disadvantage.

- Several multinational companies have filed complaints to the effect that the Hungarian laws are discriminatory and serve the purpose of driving them out of Hungary.

- There are a number of errors and problems with the operation of the State Audit Office. The Office was unable to provide information in 29 cases about the fate of euro 1.5 billion of EU funding.

- The government gives preferential treatment to one sphere of people.

Hohlmeier spoke highly of the establishment of the new Integrity Authority, and called the changes taking place at the tax office and the strengthening of the judicial council positive. (hvg.hu; index.hu; demokrata.hu)
18th May, 2023

Navracsics not optimistic about EP delegation’s report

Minister for Regional Development and EU Funds Tibor Navracsics said he did not believe that the delegation from the European Parliament budget supervisory committee would present a good opinion of Hungary in its report, after meeting with the MEPs in Budapest on Wednesday morning.

“They did not appear to have read the background materials received from the government”, he said.

Navracsics told journalists that the meeting was businesslike, and both sides strove for mutual understanding, but he felt that the members of the delegation were biased and they accused the government of the same.

In response to the accusation of political bias against opposition-led municipalities, he said there are 60 settlements and four towns in his own constituency led by opposition leaders with whom he has outstanding co-operation in development projects. (infostart.hu; rtl.hu; 24.hu; hang.hu; index.hu; mfor.hu)
18th May, 2023

Date set for EP and local elections

Hungary’s municipal and European Parliament elections will be held on June 9, 2024, Portfolio reports.

As member states were unable to reach unanimous agreement on the EP election date, voting will take place during June 6-9, according to a letter to EP President Roberta Metsola from the Swedish Minister of EU Affairs, whose country holds the rotating EU Council presidency.

EU election law stipulates the date of the elections at the beginning of June.

As Hungary’s constitution states that elections must take place on a Sunday, Hungarians will vote on June 9. (portfolio.hu; infostart.hu; euractiv.com; naphire.hu)
18th May, 2023

Mi Hazank could win seats in EP

The Mi Hazank Movement could win seats in the European Parliament, the Democratic Coalition and Momentum would not increase the number of their MEPs, and Dialogue and LMP would have a bigger chance for winning a seat if they ran together, according to the latest poll by Zavecz Research, commissioned by the LMP’s party foundation, Okopolisz.

Fidesz has the support of 46% of decided party voters, while the Democratic Coalition leads the opposition with 19%, ahead of Momentum with 8%, Mi Hazank 7%, Jobbik 6% and the Socialist Party also at 6%.

If LMP (4%), the Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party (3%) and Dialogue (2%) ran on their own, they would not win any seats.

With these numbers, Fidesz would win 12 seats in the European Parliament, the Democratic Coalition 4, Momentum 2, Mi Hazank 1, the Socialists 1 and Jobbik 1.

Klara Dobrev of the Democratic Coalition is the most popular opposition politician, followed by Momentum MEP Anna Donath.

The results are based on a survey of a representative sample of 1,000 adults between April 28 and May 5. (telex.hu; 168.hu; nepszava.hu; rtl.hu; hirklikk.hu; 24.hu)
18th May, 2023

Majority opposes Budahazy pardon

Only 20% of Hungarians consider it right that President Katalin Novak pardoned convicted terrorist Gyorgy Budahazy on the occasion of the visit to Hungary by Pope Francis, according to a survey conducted by the Publicus Institute for Nepszava.

In all, 54% of respondents say it is normal that the law allows scope for a presidential pardon, but 75% said Budahazy should not have been pardoned.

Only 41% of Fidesz voters agreed with Novak’s decision. Her decision was also supported by 5% of opposition voters and 8% of undecided voters.

Strategic director Andrea Virag of the Republikon political institute said the presidential pardon was a gesture from those in power toward the voters of the far-right Mi Hazank and the radicals within Fidesz. (24.hu)

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