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Hungary’s Orban accuses EU of blocking funds for ‘political reasons’

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Viktor Orban accused Brussels on Friday of freezing EU funds intended to go to Hungary for “political reasons”.

In an interview with public radio, the Hungarian Prime Minister accused “Brussels bureaucrats” of postponing Hungary’s EU funds for “obvious political reasons.”

“On a few fundamental issues, there are differences of opinion between the EU and Hungary… and it is for this reason that (Brussels) does not like the Hungarian government,” he said.

The European Commission had recommended on Wednesday that billions of euros worth of EU funds be withheld from Hungary.

Officials said that Orban’s government had failed to adequately implement the reforms needed to receive the funding.

The EU executive suggested suspending €7.5 billion in development funding to the country.

And while it approved Hungary’s COVID recovery plan, the Commission said it would wait to disburse the €5.8 billion in grants based on the country’s implementation of 27 reforms, including anti-corruption measures.

Hungarian Minister for Regional Development Tibor Navracsics said on Wednesday that the government “will put in place the additional measures required and in 2023 we have no doubt that we will succeed in convincing the Commission (…) that it is not necessary to suspend the funds.”

Last week, MEPs overwhelmingly called for EU funds for Hungary to be frozen due to concerns over the rule of law with 416 votes in favour and 124 against the resolution.

Hungary’s nationalist prime minister has been accused of blocking the EU’s Ukraine aid plan and minimum global corporate tax rate in order to receive the money.

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