picture of Ursula von der Leyen

The European Commission has written a letter to the Hungarian government requesting information on decisions and actions in Hungary that the Commission claims violate both the EU’s financial interests and rule of law norms, writes Népszava.

In the “administrative letter” personally approved by Commission President Urusla von der Leyen (pictured) and sent to the Hungarian authorities on Friday night, the European Commission requested written information from the government on certain legal provisions that it considers in conflict with EU regulations.

The letter is not the same as the formal launch of the Rule of Law mechanism in Hungary, but it is a strong signal that the Brussels body has serious concerns about the misuse of EU funds and the impunity for high-level corruption in the country.

The government has eight weeks to respond to the concerns and questions raised by the Commission. If its answer does not meet the body’s expectations, Hungary could be one of the first Member States in the alliance to be subject to provisions protecting the EU’s financial interests against corrupt governments. The procedure, expected to take 6-8 months, may end with the suspension of EU funding.

In addition to Hungary, Poland also received a similar letter of inquiry from the European Commission.

The sending of this clarification inquiry precedes the formal procedure required by the Rule of Law mechanism, which has been in force since January.

However, the European Commission only intends to trigger the mechanism after the European Court of Justice has ruled on the legality of the legislation, which is expected early next year at the latest.

[Népszava]

By Steven N.

Steven is the editor-in-chief of Hungarian Politics. He has been following the political scene in Hungary and the Central European region more or less since 1994.