Along with other EU members, Hungary’s name appears several times in a European Parliament report on combating oligarchic structures and protecting EU funds against fraud. The representative body approved a non-legally binding resolution proposed by Finnish People’s Party MEP Petri Sarvamaa by a large majority on Thursday.
[M]embers of national governments and other holders of political positions are part of the oligarchy in some Member States and have actively sought to use EU funds to benefit themselves financially
-reads the report, adding that “the occurrence of such oligarchic groups … has reached an unprecedented magnitude in the past several years,” and that the European Parliament “notes with extreme concern that politically connected oligarch networks can capture national media markets and interfere with the workings of democratic public spheres.”
Referring to “several exposes, surveys and investigative articles,” the report states that Viktor Orbán (pictured) has centralized and redistributed wealth to his inner circle through agricultural subsidies.
It also notes severe systemic weaknesses in the functioning of public procurement in Hungary, and points out that “during the period 2015-2019, Hungary was subject to the highest number of OLAF investigations closed with a financial recommendation of all the Member States.”
In a Wednesday evening debate on the report, German Green MEP Daniel Freund raised the issue of not only freezing the assets of Russian oligarchs, but also EU funds that go to the EU’s own oligarchs.
If we continue like this, Orbán’s oligarchs will even buy the last independent daily in Hungary.
-warned Freund on the dangers of doing nothing.
Sándor Rónai from the Democratic Coalition spoke about the fact that in view of the war taking place in Europe, the EU cannot eliminate its most cherished values and aspirations:
We must work with all our might to stop government corruption, crack down on oligarchs, and above all, stop Putin’s servants, the destroyers of Europe.
In the report, MEPs urge EU institutions to take all possible measures to prevent oligarchs from taking over economic, financial, and political control.
The report also calls for more efficient data collection on the beneficiaries of EU funds, stricter rules to prevent conflicts of interest, and stronger measures against the misuse of agricultural subsidies.