The success of Orbán’s blackmail 💰

Dear reader,


This week, the European Commission released € 10 billion to the Orbán government. Both Sophie in ‘t Veld and myself have over the course of the week strongly condemned this decision. The release of this money very simply means that the Commission has given in to the blackmail of Orbán in front of the eyes of the whole world. It also means that the values the Union is founded on, among others the rule of law, have been disregarded.


The decision is a slap across the face of all those who are fighting day in, day out, for European values. It is a massive blow to all our efforts for the rule of law, it shatters our credibility, and pulls the rug from under our feet as we are debating the rule of law backsliding in other EU member states and elsewhere in the world. The political signal sent to kleptocrats, including Putin, is that extortion is a successful strategy if you want to get money from the EU.

The Commission is supposed to be the guardian of the European Treaties. Its President, Ursula von der Leyen was elected by the European Parliament in 2019 on the explicit promise to you and your representatives in the European Parliament to be the champion of the rule of law. Looking back over the last four years since her Commission’s election, she has broken her promise time and time again. That cannot remain without consequences. A bit of grumbling by Parliament is not enough.


Today and tomorrow, we will likely see a similar disrespect for our principle-based understanding of politics, values and promises. The meeting of European government leaders is a summit of broken promises: Broken promises on accession hopes! Broken promises to respect the rule of law! Broken promises to reforming Europe! How is Europe supposed to win back trust, if our leaders are not able to keep their promises?

Therefore, as a first step, we have called upon the Parliament to explore all options within its powers as budget authority, to scrutinise and reverse where possible, the payment. Moreover, we have demanded that the detailed assessment of the Hungarian reforms are to be made public immediately. 


More needs to be done and I will use the holiday break to make sure that 2024 starts with keeping promises and sticking to our values than the Union has done in 2023. 


For more insights check out my and Sophie’s twitter account, or my video on the topic.

All the best,