The EU Commission has announced Tuesday it will launch the so-called rule of law mechanism against Hungary, which links EU funds to whether or not democracy is being upheld. Newly re-elected Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hailed the "great victory" in Sunday's general election for he and his Fidesz party. Orban had said: "We have won a great victory - a victory so great you can perhaps see it from the moon and certainly from Brussels".
Indeed they most certainly "see it" from Brussels, given that now a mere 48 hours after the landslide win which ensures Orban's fourth consecutive term in office, their sour grapes are being made known swiftly in the following:
The EU Commission will launch the so-called conditionality mechanism against Hungary which links EU funds to the respect of rule of law, commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced on Tuesday in the European Parliament. The commission has been under pressure to trigger the mechanism over concerns of fraud and corruption of EU funds and worries over democratic backsliding. The commission will now send a letter to the Hungarian authorities.
"We’ve carefully assessed the result of these questions," von der Leyen told European Parliament. "Our conclusion is we have to move on [to] the next step."
The timing makes obvious that what she asserts as... "we've carefully assessed" - is really more about we reject the man the Hungarian people voted for in their democratic elections.
Also, commissioner for Budget and Administration, Johannes Hahn, announced that he will "take action with Hungary and set the mechanism in motion – because of suspicions of corruption and problems with public procurement."
People did "go vote" and now elites in Brussels and Washington are raging at the outcome.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine underscores the need to fight autocracy and defend free, democratic societies.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 1, 2022
The Hungarian elections on April 3 are an opportunity to reaffirm democracy.
Hungarians in Hungary, the U.S., and elsewhere: Go vote!
As Rod Dreher at The American Conservative points out:
It’s always the same with these people: it’s only "democracy" when people vote the way they want them to. People did "go vote" — and they returned Orban and his Fidesz party to power by margins that even Fidesz did not expect (trust me on this — I was there last night at Fidesz HQ, talking to people as the numbers came in).
Hungary will become the first country to endure proceedings under the relatively new 'rule of law' power, and could see millions in EU funds cut.
In light of this, Politico notes that there will be a long haul process ahead: "Still, while von der Leyen is now prepared to move ahead after months of deliberation, significant bureaucracy and political debate must unfold before it’s known whether Hungary will ultimately lose out on critical EU funds."
"Once the Commission formally begins the process, a lengthy back-and-forth with Budapest is expected," Politico continues. "Then it will be up to the Council of the EU, composed of representatives from each country, to ultimately determine whether to slash the money. Any funding reduction needs a 'qualified majority' to pass — meaning at least 55 percent of EU countries representing at least 65 percent of the bloc’s population."