A delegation of Parliament’s Budgetary Control committee on Wednesday concluded a fact-finding visit in Budapest. MEPs looked into the ongoing issues with the protection of EU budget.
A delegation of six Members, led by chair of Budgetary Control Committee Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, Germany), travelled to Budapest to get insights onto processes to disburse European funds to Hungarian citizens and businesses as well as to get a first-hand information on the control systems and procedures in place to manage the recovery and resilience funding.
“We have spent three days of intense meetings with stakeholders responsible for the management, implementation and control of the EU funds: representatives of the government, audit and tax bodies, members of the opposition, local and regional authorities, businesses, civil society and the press. Our delegation and all our counterparts share the same view - EU funds represent a very big opportunity for the development of Hungary, and for the prosperity of Hungarian citizens”.
Referring to shortcomings identified during the visit, such as public procurement issues, concerns on the effectiveness of State Audit Office, discriminatory measures against certain businesses, such as overnight changes to laws or intimidating visits by the secret police, to “pave the way for a takeover” she asked: “how can we ensure that the EU money can reach Hungarian citizens, businesses and regions, in a transparent, fair and impartial way? How to ensure that all regions, citizens and businesses have equal access to EU funds, without any discrimination and without any political bias?”
Speaking in the name of delegation, Hohlmeier concluded by calling on Hungarian Government “to implement the 27 so called super-milestones which include the 17 remedial measures under the Conditionality Regulation as well as the four horizontal enabling conditions without any further delay to finally unblock almost 28 billion euro, or over 10.000 billion forints, to make this happen”.
The MEPs visited the Minister for Regional Development Mr Tibor Navracsics, the State Secretary for European Union affairs of the Ministry of Justice Mr János Bóka, as well as the State Audit Office where they met its President Mr László Windisch. MEPs also met the President of the Directorate General for Audit of EU funds Dr Bálazs Densco, representatives of the National Tax and Customs Administration as well as the President of the new Hungarian Integrity Authority Ferenc Bíró.
They visited their counterparts in the Hungarian National Assembly where they met chairs of the standing committees on Justice, Economics, European Affairs and Budgets, as well as the Mayor of Budapest Mr Gergely Karácsony and the Association of Hungarian Municipalities. Finally, Members exchanged with the investigative journalists, business community, representatives of the civil society and the NGOs.
MEPs were also joined by the Member of European Court of Auditors Ms Annemie TURTELBOOM and observers from the European Commission.
Information for the press
The videorecording of concluding press conference can be viewd on the EP Multimedia centre.
Free photos and videos from the delgation’s visit to Hungary can be downloaded here.