We were shocked and outraged to discover that the Commission is planning to freeze cohesion funds for Hungary in 2013. This is intended as a punishment for non-compliance with requirements under the excessive budget deficit procedure. It is interesting to note that Hungary is currently complying with the requirement. According to the Commission, however, the steps taken by Hungary are not far-reaching enough, and provide no guarantee that compliance will be maintained in 2013.
1. How did the Commission and the European Court of Auditors assess the likely development of the Hungarian deficit in 2013?
2. Does the Commission plan to implement similar measures with regard to other Member States, for example Poland, Belgium or Cyprus, which are also subject to the excessive budget deficit procedure, or Member States whose economies are in crisis, for example Greece, Portugal or Spain, and which will have a budget deficit in excess of 3 % in 2013?
3. The effects of freezing funding for cohesion policy in 2013 will have a delayed impact, giving rise to an even greater deficit. In the opinion of the Commission, what effect will any funding freeze have on Hungary’s economic situation?
4. Cohesion policy was established to ensure equal opportunities for the development of less-wealthy regions and uniform economic growth across Europe. Will a funding freeze for this policy not run counter to its underlying principles, which were supposed to be immune to political decisions?