The Hungarian government has asked the European Commission (EC) “not to punish the Hungarian voters” who allowed a new victory for Prime Minister Viktor Orban in parliamentary elections with the suspension of funds.
The EC is set to trigger a new, powerful disciplinary procedure allowing the disbursement of European Union (EU) funds to be suspended, it formally notified Budapest on Tuesday.
Orban’s government and the EU have been at odds in recent years over a series of issues, ranging from the “rule-of-law” to minority rights, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Prime Minister’s conservative Fidesz party won a fourth consecutive super-majority in the general elections held on Sunday.
In response to the EU executive’s announcement, Gergely Gulyas, Orban’s Chief of Staff, urged the Commission “not to punish Hungarian voters” for expressing an opinion “that Brussels does not like”.
“The fundamental rules of democracy must be accepted by the Commission,” he said, urging it to “return to common sense and dialogue”.
The procedure could ultimately deny Orban’s government more than 40 billion euros ($43.6 billion) in EU funding.
However, it is likely to still take months to complete. The ultimate decision will rest with the Council of the EU, composed of representatives from each member state.