Not a little bit wrong; big time. Today, the European institutions have reached a historic agreement: the decision has been made to set up an EU mechanism to protect the rule of law, which clearly and unequivocally links the protection of European values to the payment of EU funds to Member States.
The new mechanism will protect the European values enshrined in the Treaties, democracy, the rule of law, equality and freedom, in a more effective, transparent and consistent way than previous EU instruments. It is an important achievement that, as urged by the European Parliament, the focus of the new mechanism will be significantly broadened.
Contrary to the proposal of the Council, which represents the Member States, the procedure will not only be possible to launch once the interests of the EU budget were harmed; it will also be applicable to Member States that do not respect the rule of law and fundamental European values. Another extremely important achievement is that, compared to the so-called Article 7 infringement procedure so far, there will be no need for unanimity to start the procedure; therefore no EU Member State will be able to blackmail the European Community.
One of the central elements of the negotiations was the 'protection of final beneficiaries', which was declared by another EP resolution from January 2019 at my proposal and which was still one of the most important demands of the S&D Group when the final compromise was adopted. This creates the protection of the interests of local governments, non-governmental organizations, small and medium-sized enterprises, such as the Hungarian people, against the guilty governments of the Member States. If a decision is made to suspend or reduce the payment of EU funds to a Member State due to violation of the rule of law, this decision will only sanction the government of the Member State, and those concerned will continue to have access to the subsidies they are entitled to. Due to corrupt and anti-democratic governments, the interests of no Hungarian citizen can be harmed!
The mechanism for protecting European values, including the rule of law, is therefore clear and unambiguous. Viktor Orbán and his government will be in trouble if he continues to pursue his anti-European and extremely corrupt policy, but the interests of the Hungarian people and the support they are entitled to are safe. Should Fidesz continue to threaten to veto the next EU budget and the coronavirus relief package, they will be admitting that Hungary does not come first for them; the maintenance of their criminal rule, however, does.
dr. István Ujhelyi (MSZP)