The European Commission is meeting on Sunday morning to adopt a position regarding the rule of law procedure against Hungary, and will likely inform the public about their decision in the afternoon. Typically the commissioner most relevant to the matter appears before the media, which in this case is expected to be Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn.
The Brussels-based body has until September 21 to make its decision, but its president will be abroad next week, first to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, then to spend several days in the United States to take part in the UN General Assembly. Because of this, the College of Commissioners is holding its meeting at an unusual time.
Whatever position the European Commission takes on Sunday, the Hungarian government will provide legislative proposals to address the body’s concerns on Monday. If the Commission finds Hungary’s response adequate, it can terminate the rule of law procedure and determine that Hungary does not pose a threat to the joint EU budget.
Also at stake could be €5.9 billion (US $5.9 billion) due to Hungary from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). In theory, the rule of law procedure and the RRF are independent of each other, but the European Commission is unlikely to determine that money sent to Hungary harms the EU’s budget while also approving the payment of funds to the country.
A possible solution to this problem could be if the Commission effectively combined the two issues by approving Hungary’s recovery plan on the condition that certain laws are passed by the Hungarian Parliament.
EU law stipulates that Hungary could lose 70% of the funding it is entitled to if all of the formalities are not in place by December 31. [Magyar Hang]