BRUSSELS, 12 (EUROPA PRESS)
The countries of the European Union have reached an agreement on Monday that ensures macro-financial aid of 18,000 million euros to Ukraine for next year and has the unanimous support of the 27, including Hungary, which prevented the agreement a week ago to try to put pressure on its partners and prevent billions in European funds from being frozen.
However, the Twenty-seven have also agreed to freeze 6,300 million euros in Cohesion funds for Hungary due to the lack of progress in the fight against corruption and the reinforcement of the rule of law that is required of the Government of Viktor Orbán, they have informed Europa Press diplomatic sources.
In this way, the Member States revise downwards the initial proposal from Brussels to freeze 65 percent of the affected programs, that is, 7,500 million euros, and set the suspension at 55 percent to take into account the reforms which Hungary has started to develop this autumn.
In its analysis, the European bloc considers it necessary to suspend these funds to protect the community budget from failures in the rule of law in this country, especially with regard to public procurement, the effectiveness of procedural action and the fight against corruption.
The freezing of funds, against which only Hungary has voted against, responds to the Brussels conclusions after evaluating the impact of the reforms adopted up to November by the Hungarian authorities and verifying that, despite the fact that the country has processed far-reaching measures , these were not “fully satisfactory” nor did they resolve the identified threats.
The agreement was reached at a meeting in Brussels at the level of ambassadors that still needs the formal approval of the capitals through a written procedure that will conclude this Wednesday, in time to prevent Hungary’s pulse with its partners in the EU from slipping through at the meeting of European heads of state and government this Wednesday and Thursday.
GREEN LIGHT TO THE RECOVERY PLAN BUT NOT TO THE DISBURSEMENT
The agreement also means giving the ‘green light’ to Hungary’s recovery plan, but conditions any disbursement of the 5,800 million euros for reforms and investments to the Hungarian Government complying with specific measures in the area of anti-corruption and the rule of law, conditions directly linked to the freezing of regional funds.
Specifically, to the reforms initially negotiated between Budapest and Brussels to achieve the recovery and investment objectives, for example in energy and decarbonization of its industry, another 27 “super milestones” linked to institutional reforms to strengthen the State of law and that expressly include the reforms that the Community Executive demands from Hungary within the framework of the conditionality mechanism by which the regional funds are frozen.
The fourth element of the agreement that the Twenty-seven have wanted to negotiate as a package to deal with the blockade of Budapest has been the minimum rate of 15 percent of corporate tax for large multinationals, the so-called ‘Second Pillar’ that is part of the OECD reform for a global minimum rate.
It is about ensuring that the benefits of large multinational and national groups or companies with a joint annual turnover of at least 750 million euros are taxed at a minimum rate of 15 percent.
An agreement has also been reached unanimously on this point, although the sources consulted by Europa Press warn that the pact is based on the “assumption” that Poland will also lift its reservations at this point by Wednesday.