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Weeklies on Hungary’s EU funding prospects

November 28th, 2022

Weeklies and weekend editions of dailies ponder if and when Hungary will get access to suspended EU funding.

In Magyar Hang, Attila Tibor Nagy thinks that the government is playing a risky game by downplaying the importance of the resolution by the European Parliament demanding the freezing of Hungary’s funding. The left-wing analyst acknowledges that the EP resolution has no legally binding force and the final decision is made by the European Commission, but also thinks that the EP can put pressure on the European Commission and even threaten to dismiss it collectively. Nagy accuses the government of launching ‘impertinent attacks’ on Brussels which are not at all helpful in getting EU funding and may further increase anti-EU sentiments among Fidesz voters.

In Heti Világgazdaság, János Dobszay sees the European Parliament’s resolution calling for the funding for Hungary be withheld as a harbinger of future disputes with the EU. The liberal pundit believes that by vetoing some EU decisions and by what he calls the governments’ lacklustre efforts to implement rule and law criteria, Hungary’s leaders have weakened the EU’s faith in Hungary. Since it left the European People’s Party, Fidesz can no longer protect itself from critical resolutions within the EP. Dobszay predicts that the European Commission will not give a full green light to the transfer of suspended funding, but will discipline the Hungarian government by monitoring it continuously and making any payment conditional on compliance with EU norms. Since EU funding the Hungarian economy would plummet, PM Orbán has no choice but to comply unwillingly in order to secure his survival, Dobszay predicts.

In Magyar Demokrata, Attila Kovács, Research Director of the pro-government think tank Center for Fundamental Rights is confident that there will be a deal and Hungary will get the frozen EU funds. In the conservative analyst’s interpretation, the whole dispute between Hungary and the EU is the result of attacks by the European progressive Left on Hungary which is only trying to protect its borders from illegal migration and defend its children from LGBTQ ideology. Kovács claims that while defending Hungarian interests, the Hungarian government never tried to weaken European unity or violate basic European values including media freedom and the rule of law. He adds that the Hungarian government has fully implemented whatever was required by the EU to continue the transfer of EU funds, which shows that the Hungarian government is ready to compromise. Kovács is optimistic that despite the ideologically motivated liberal and left-wing MEPs’ attempts to ‘drive a wedge between the EU and Hungary, Hungary will soon get its due and will be able to use the money to improve family benefits, increase teachers’ wages and provide Hungarians with cheap energy.

In Magyar Nemzet, Zoltán Lomnici Jr. also accuses the European Parliament of trying to weaken the unity of the EU. The conservative constitutional lawyer recalls that some of the same MEPs who want to punish Hungary have been accused of serving as lobbyists of multinational corporations. Lomnici also accuses the EP of trying to increase its own power and weaken the European Commission and the Council of the European Union. Such efforts, Lomnici believes, weaken the unity of the whole EU and erode its geopolitical power.

In Magyar Hírlap, László Csizmadia, the leader of the pro-government CÖF NGO lambasts left-wing Hungarian MEPs for voting in favour of the EP resolution calling for the freezing of Hungary’s EU funding. The pro-government activist goes so far as to accuse the whole European Parliament of serving the aims of the imperialist United States that wants to destroy national sovereignty in the hope of colonizing Europe. Csizmadia hopes that voters will come to their senses and in the 2024 EP election will vote against parties that support such efforts.

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