Following the approval of the partnership agreement with Hungary concerning cohesion funding, the European Commission said in a statement that Hungary is “committed to remedying the deficiencies” in judicial independence as its recovery and resilience plan includes reforms aimed at strengthening the independence of the judiciary.
The statement added, however, that relevant conditions would be considered fulfilled if Hungary took those measures it had committed to. Concerning Hungary’s child protection law, the commission said its provisions, as well as risks around the freedom of science and refugee rights “have a concrete and direct impact on the compliance with the Charter in the implementation of certain specific objectives of three cohesion programmes and of the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund respectively”. “For these parts of those programmes Hungary is therefore currently not fulfilling the horizontal enabling condition on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights,” they said, adding that the commission was open to further dialogue and close cooperation with the Hungarian government. Unless relevant conditions are met, the commission “cannot reimburse the related expenditure submitted other than for technical assistance and for fulfilling the enabling conditions”, it warned. Tibor Navracsics, the minister of regional development, welcomed that “Hungary has signed all agreements with the European Commission facilitating access to EU funds”. In a video message published on Facebook, Navracsics said an advance payment of 130 billion forints (EUR 323m) was expected to arrive, after which public tenders would be announced and actual projects could be launched.