At the beginning of May, Hungary approved a reform to preserve the independence of the judiciary, which, according to press reports, could soon allow EU funds to start flowing to the country.
Brussels has so far blocked €21.7 billion of cohesion funds, but €10.4 billion of this could soon be coming to Hungary, Euronews reports, citing EU officials who say that Brussels considers the domestic action to be sufficient, which will free up the money from the cohesion fund.
The EU politician, who asked not to be named, told the paper that the final amount is not yet known, but that a further €500 million payment is not ruled out. He said they had seen important reforms that would help strengthen the independence of the judiciary in Hungary.
“We have come a long way,” said an EU official. “We have seen important reforms, and these are contributing to strengthening judicial independence in Hungary. But we need to monitor the effect of these reforms on the ground.”
The EU Commission is expected to take a decision sometime before Dec. 15, almost a year after the initial decision to stop payments.
No agreement from member states is needed on the €10 billion to be disbursed to Hungary. As Remix News has previously reported, this month Hungary gained access to around €1 billion in withheld funding.
The money could reportedly come in connection with the REPowerEU program to reduce Russia’s energy dependence and improve the security of Hungary’s energy supply.
The report comes after the Hungarian government submitted a €3.9 billion loan application for the REPowerEU loan component at the end of August, which comes with €700 million in non-reimbursable grants.
If this total of €4.6 billion is approved, it could be matched by a 20 percent advance, which would amount to almost €1 billion.