The European Parliament has adopted a resolution that warns the European Commission of possible legal action if it releases more frozen funds to Hungary without ensuring respect for the rule of law.
The resolution, passed by 345 votes to 104 on Thursday, expresses “deep concern” over the Commission’s decision to unfreeze €10 billion for Hungary under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the EU’s main instrument to support the post-pandemic recovery.
The MEPs accuse the Commission of violating the Rule of Law Conditionality Regulation, which links the disbursement of EU funds to the respect of the EU’s core values, such as democracy, human rights and judicial independence.
The resolution also calls on the Council of the EU, which represents the member states, to activate a procedure under Article 7 of the EU Treaty, which could lead to the suspension of Hungary’s voting rights in the bloc.
The Parliament’s move comes amid growing tensions between the EU institutions and Hungary over the latter’s controversial reforms and policies, which have been criticized as undermining the rule of law, media freedom, academic autonomy and minority rights.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has dismissed the resolution as an “anti-democratic” attempt to “strip people of their rights to make decisions on their future”.
The Commission has defended its decision to unfreeze the funds for Hungary, saying that it has obtained sufficient guarantees from the Hungarian authorities on the use and control of the money.
The Commission has also stressed that it will continue to monitor the situation in Hungary and use all the tools at its disposal to protect the rule of law and the EU budget.