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After EU pressure on Orban: Hungary plans new anti-corruption agency

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Under pressure from the EU, Hungary’s right-wing government led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban has presented a second package of laws intended to prevent the misuse of EU funds. At its core, it involves the establishment of an integrity authority. It aims to facilitate the prevention, detection and correction of potential fraud, conflicts of interest, corruption and other irregularities in the use of EU funds.

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Orban has been at odds with the EU for a long time. In the face of rising energy costs, a weak national currency and a possible recession in the coming year, Orban has apparently changed course.

The proposed legislation was published on the Hungarian Parliament’s website late Friday evening. A week ago, the government presented a first draft law on this subject. It provides for an incompatibility regulation for members of the board of trustees of public foundations and improved administrative assistance for the EU corruption investigation authority Olaf.

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billion euro from the EU budget Hungary should be cut.

After years of allegations of alleged misuse of EU funds and violations of the rule of law, the EU Commission proposed cutting payments of around 7.5 billion euros from the EU budget to Hungary. At the same time, she gave Budapest two months to remedy the abuses and thus get out of the rule-of-law procedure with impunity.

According to the draft, the new integrity authority should function independently of the government. However, Hungary’s President appoints its president and his two deputies at the suggestion of the head of the Hungarian Court of Audit. The three people will receive a six-year mandate.

A commission made up of international experts, which is to advise and monitor the integrity authority, is said to have a say in filling these top positions. To fill this commission, the government published an international call for applications on Friday evening. It states, among other things, that this commission should issue “legally binding opinions” on filling the three chief posts of the integrity authority.

In addition, the integrity authority should be obliged to report cases of fraud and corruption to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EUPO). Hungary strictly refuses to become part of the EUPO, which has been in operation since 2021 and to which 22 EU countries have belonged so far. Participation means that the EPPO may order investigations in the countries concerned. (dpa/Reuters)

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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