Hungary to set up anti-corruption agency to unlock EU funds

Sep 6, 2022, 7:29 AM | Updated: 9:12 am

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary’s government has pledged to set up its own anti-corruption agency in an effort to unlock billions in European Union funding that the bloc has withheld over rule-of-law and graft concerns.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban signed the decree published late Monday which will establish an “independent authority to prevent, detect and correct illegalities and irregularities” concerning the handling of EU funds.

The agency will be tasked with stepping in when it deems national authorities have not acted sufficiently to prevent or investigate cases of fraud, corruption, conflicts of interest and other violations, according to the decree.

The move appeared to be a concession by Hungary’s nationalist government to the EU executive, which must decide this month whether to approve Hungary’s application for billions in recovery funds meant to assist European economies damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The European Commission has withheld those funds for over a year as it has sought to address what it sees as a rollback in Hungary’s democratic credentials, and alleged corruption that funnels EU money to politically connected insiders.

A large recipient of EU funds, Hungary has come under increasing criticism over the past few years for veering away from democratic norms with policies such as exerting excessive control over the judiciary, stifling media freedom and denying the rights of LGBT people.

Yet with inflation and energy prices soaring and Hungary’s currency, the forint, at historic lows against the euro and dollar, Orban’s government needs the nearly 6 billion euros (dollars) in recovery funds to spare its economy from a recession.

The new anti-corruption agency will begin operating on Nov. 21, and a separate anti-corruption task force, made up of both governmental and non-governmental delegates, will be established by Dec. 1.

In 2021, Hungary’s government opted out of joining the European Public Prosecutors Office — an independent EU body tasked with combating crimes affecting the financial interests of the bloc — arguing that joining would amount to a loss of national sovereignty.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, Apri...
Associated Press

Supreme Court keeping live audio as it opens again to public

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says it will continue providing live audio broadcasts of arguments in cases, even as it welcomes the public back to its courtroom for a new term that begins Monday. The justices began providing live audio of arguments after the court closed to the public in March of 2020 because […]
15 hours ago
A CSX freight train runs through a crossing in Homestead, Pa., Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. (AP Photo...
Associated Press

Rail unions emphasize positives of their tentative deals

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The two biggest U.S. railroad unions were working Wednesday ahead of key ratification votes to dispel rumors about the contract deals that averted a potentially devastating nationwide strike . The unions have been fighting rumors on social media that they would impose the deals on workers if they vote to reject […]
15 hours ago
Debris of a railway depot ruined after a Russian rocket attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Sept...
Associated Press

US: Focus new Russia sanctions on oil revenue, arms supplies

WASHINGTON (AP) — Future sanctions over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine must focus on depriving Putin of what he needs to fund and fight the war: revenue from Russia’s oil and gas sales and access to global supply networks to replenish his military, two architects of the Biden administration’s sanctions campaign told lawmakers on […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Jurors must decide how much Newtown families suffering worth

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) — After watching days of testimony that included the parents of slain children breaking down on the witness stand, a Connecticut jury soon will have the difficult task of coming up with a dollar amount that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones should pay for promoting the idea that the Sandy Hook school shooting […]
15 hours ago
A damaged apartment from an apparent overnight tornado spawned from Hurricane Ian at Kings Point 55...
Associated Press

Ian threatens Florida’s already unstable insurance market

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s property insurance market was already in peril. Now comes Hurricane Ian. The massive storm that barreled into southwest Florida delivering catastrophic winds, rain and flooding is likely to further damage the insurance market in the state, which has strained under billion-dollar losses, insolvencies and skyrocketing premiums. The scale of the […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Deceased suspect in shooting at Indiana Subaru plant named

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A coroner has released the name of a man who fatally shot himself after shooting and critically wounding a woman outside a Subaru plant in northwest Indiana. Tippecanoe County Coroner Carrie Costello said 57-year-old John Jones’s cause of death was a gunshot wound and the manner of death was suicide. Officers […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Hungary to set up anti-corruption agency to unlock EU funds