Barley: Hungary and Poland must freeze EU funds | free press

Hungary and Poland have shortcomings on democratic principles – which is why the Vice-President of the EU Parliament, Katarina Barley, wants to refuse the two countries financial aid from the EU.

Brussels (dpa) – Ahead of the presentation of the EU commission’s annual rule of law report, EU Parliament Vice-President Katarina Barley (SPD) calls for a blockage of EU funds for Hungary and Poland. “It is important that these measures primarily affect governments and not the population,” Barley told the Funke media group newspapers. In both states there are deficits in democratic principles.

Regarding Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Barley said: “He and his government have made such major changes to all pillars of democracy that one can no longer speak of democratic conditions in Hungary.” As an example, she cited a law that prohibits making books and other information carriers accessible to persons under the age of 18 who ‘represent’ or ‘promote’ homosexuality, transsexuality or gender reassignment. In Poland, the independence of the judiciary is at stake.

Critics accuse both the Hungarian and Polish governments of exerting an influence on the judiciary that is incompatible with EU standards. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced almost two weeks ago that the first procedure would be launched in the autumn that could lead to a cut in EU funds for countries such as Hungary and Poland. If violations of the rule of law are found to seriously harm or threaten to harm the EU’s financial interests, action must be taken, she said.

The European Commission report, expected on Tuesday, will systematically examine the state of media freedom, democracy and the fight against corruption in EU countries. It was presented for the first time last year.

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