Democracy Digest: EU Mission to Hungary Sees No Reason to Unfreeze Funds

The delegation's findings are unlikely to speed up Hungary's access to the frozen EU funds, with Freund tweeting: "Question: When will Hungary get full access to EU funding again? Answer: When all the conditions are fulfilled." Altogether 28 billion euros are at stake after the EU Commission blocked all 22 billion euros of Hungary's structural funds and transfers from the post-pandemic recovery fund are pending approval due to concerns over the rule of law in the country. Regional Development Minister Tibor Navracsics said he was "moderately optimistic after the talks", but of course blamed the committee for being "slightly politically biased." The pro-government media dismissed the visit as politically motivated. Fidesz youth organization Fidelitas welcomed the MEPs with suitcases packed with euro notes, a referrence to the corruption scandal of EP vice president Eva Kaili. They failed to mention that while Kaili is being prosecuted, that is rarely the case in Hungary.

In other news, Oliver Varhelyi, the European commissioner for neighbourhood and enlargement from Hungary, found himself somewhat out of step with Hungarian foreign policy when he warned Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik this week against visiting Moscow. "Our allies don't go to Russia, that is my message," Varhelyi said in response to a reporter's question on Dodik's upcoming visit. "Whoever wants to be our ally does not go to Russia." The comments were picked over by the media, as Varhelyi is loyal to PM Viktor Orban and, as such, is often seen as Hungary's 'agent' inside the EU Commission. Varhelyi's remarks could be taken as indirect criticism of Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, a four-time visitor to Moscow since Russia's invasion. There, he tends to praise Hungary's good cooperation...

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