EU report slams Hungary for corruption, press freedom issues – POLITICO

The European Commission will release a report on Tuesday criticizing Hungary for its inadequate anti-corruption rules and attacks on press freedom.

The criticism will be part of a wider report on the rule of law by the Commission which aims to identify and help stop democratic backsliding among EU countries. While the report – the EU’s second – is expected to highlight progress in countries like Malta and Slovakia, it will also highlight a further erosion of democratic standards in countries like Poland, Slovenia and Hungary.

Regarding Hungary in particular, the report deplores the lack of progress in the fight against corruption, a source of long-standing friction between Budapest and Brussels.

“The risks of clientelism, patronage and nepotism in high-level public administration, as well as the risks stemming from the nexus between business and political actors, remain unaddressed,” the report says, according to a first copy seen by POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook.

Hungary has long dismissed these claims as unfounded or biased attacks.

The report adds that in Hungary, “independent control mechanisms remain insufficient to detect corruption”. And he calls Budapest for not properly investigating the cases that arise.

“While the indictment rate for corruption cases is high and new high-level corruption cases have been opened since 2020, the record of investigations into allegations against high-level officials and their immediate circles remains limited. “, says the report.

Critics have expressed skepticism about what the rule of law report can accomplish, given that it describes well-known situations but offers no remedy or call for action.

Commission officials say the report is not intended to address all of the EU’s rule of law concerns, but rather to raise awareness and facilitate broader conversations.

Věra Jourová, the Commission’s head of values ​​and transparency, told POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook that the report will also inform “a recommendation to all member states on the safety of journalists”.

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