Hungary is one of the largest recipients of EU grants. They get the money because the EU wants to help them develop a little faster after their release from the Russian sphere of influence.
The idea was that they could enjoy the fruits of democracy a little more quickly with fair and free elections, transparent government, the rule of law and other social and economic benefits which are common to most OECD countries.
The amount of money is not small, around €4 billion, which is contributed by a small group of richer countries like Finland, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Austria, and Denmark, the net contributors to the EU budget.
During the last decade, Hungary’s leadership has been doing many things which the EU Commission and the European Parliament find are not in line with expressly stated EU values. Democracy and the rule of law have been abused in a serious manner and members of the two EU institutions have threatened to take action that would reduce EU grants to the country.
The leader of Hungary has now spoken out against such action by the EU, and has ridiculed Finland for placing this matter on the EU’s agenda while Finland is currently President of the EU Council.
A number of Hungarian newspaper articles and a speech by their leader have carried the same theme saying that Finland is not in a position to criticise Hungary because the Finns do not adhere to the rule of law as understood by Hungary.
These comments have been received with surprise and some amusement in Helsinki because the majority of Finns have a strong and unwavering belief in democracy and the rule of law, and as such it is highly respected by almost all countries around the world. We enjoy one of the highest standards of living in a free and open society where the rule of law is strictly and freely observed.
Finns like the rest of the EU, with one or 2 exceptions, have generously contributed to Hungary’s grants for many years, and is willing to continue. However such remarks and actions by Hungary are strong guarantees to see that these grants could be reduced or stopped. Most Finns would prefer to see a better use of their hard-earned euros for domestic use like healthcare and education!
Photo: Wikipedia Commons