EU starts process to cut funding to Hungary over rule of law

Category: Top Stories


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. bloc / blɒk / (n.) – a group of people or nations with the same political goals and interests

    The ASEAN is a powerful bloc.

  2. sound / saʊnd / (adj.) – showing good logic or judgment

    My mother always gives me sound advice.

  3. veer away from (someone/something) / vɪər əˈweɪ frʌm / (idiom) – to stay away from someone or something

    My family veers away from political discussions during meals.

  4. stifle / ˈstaɪ fəl / (v.) – to stop or prevent an action  

    Fear can stifle personal growth.

  5. potent / ˈpoʊt nt / (adj.) – strong, powerful, or effective

    The potent medicine helped me recover quickly.


Read the text below.

The European Commission will launch proceedings to suspend support payments to Hungary for breaching the 27-nation bloc’s rule-of-law standards, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday.

It will be the first time that the new conditionality mechanism allowing the EU to take measures to protect its budget will be used after the European Union’s highest court ruled in February that it had been adopted on sound legal basis.

Von der Leyen’s announcement at the European Parliament came two days after Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban declared victory in Sunday’s election, claiming a mandate for a fourth term.

Hungary, a large recipient of EU funds, has come under increasing criticism over the past few years for veering away from democratic norms with policies such as exerting excessive control over the judiciary, stifling media freedom and denying the rights of LGBT people.

Von der Leyen said her team was not convinced by Hungary’s responses to questions relating to the rule of law.

“Our conclusion is we have to move on to the next step,” she said, adding that a letter of formal notification will soon be sent to Hungarian authorities.

The rule, seen as the EU’s most potent weapon to prevent a democratic rift from deepening within the bloc, was approved more than a year ago, but the European Commission waited until it received legal reassurances before applying it.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The European Commission has the authority to suspend funding to member countries that breach the EU’s rule-of-law standards. Do you think this penalty is enough to prevent countries from violating EU laws? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Hungary has come under increasing criticism over the years for veering away from democratic norms. In your opinion, how important is democracy to a nation? Should all countries adopt a democratic system? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Despite facing controversy and criticisms, Prime Minister Viktor Orban was re-elected for a fourth term in the recent elections. Why do you think he still won (ex. people were misinformed about him, the criticisms are not true)? Discuss.
  • Currently, there isn’t any limit to the number of terms that prime ministers can serve. Do you think term limits should be imposed for all heads of state? Why or why not? Discuss.