European Parliament to sue European Commission over unfreezing of funds for Hungary

Tuesday, 12 March 2024

The European Parliament is preparing to take the European Commission to court over its decision to unfreeze billions of euros for Hungary at the end of last year.

According to Politico, on 11 March, the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs voted almost unanimously (16 MEPs in favor, one against, and no abstentions) to take the European Commission to court for breaching its obligations to protect taxpayers' money from misuse.

In December of last year, the European Commission unlocked EUR 10.2 billion from EU funds allocated for Hungary, the disbursement of which had been frozen due to concerns about the country's human rights situation and the rule of law. 

The decision was made a day before an EU summit where leaders were set to discuss new aid for Ukraine and the start of accession talks – steps that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had threatened to block.


The decision by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to unfreeze the funds faced negative reactions from members of the European Parliament, who accused her of giving in to Orbán's blackmail. 

"We believe we have a solid case, as the Commission has contradicted itself on whether Hungary is respecting the rule of law," Green Party MEP Daniel Freund said.

According to Freund, the committee's decision, supported by members of the European People's Party (EPP) to which von der Leyen belongs, is "a sign to the Commission president that the rule of law can’t be traded for deals with Orbán."

Leaders of political groups will meet on 14 March to give final approval to European Parliament President Roberta Metsola to file a lawsuit against the European Commission by 25 March. 

In early March, it was announced that Hungary had successfully unlocked an additional approximately two billion euros of European Union funds after the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán complied with the European Commission's requirements regarding education and gender equality.

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