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Hungary and the European Union to bury the hatchet, at least for the time being

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Hungary/European Union – At the meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) that took place on Monday, 12 December, Hungarian representatives finally came to an agreement with their European counterparts on the four issues that remained unresolved after the meeting of finance ministers on 6 December: the 15% global minimum tax for multinationals, an 18 billion euro aid package for Ukraine, the approval of Hungary’s national recovery plan, and the freezing of some EU cohesion funds for Hungary.

The compromise was called “a good result” by Viktor Orbán himself, who thanked the Hungarian negotiating delegation for their work. As a result, Hungary will not be forced to participate in joint borrowing to finance the aid package for Ukraine, the minimum corporate tax will take into account the Hungarian local business tax, and the amount of frozen cohesion funds will be reduced by 10%.

The minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office, Gergely Gulyás, gave a press conference together with Regional Development Minister Tibor Navracsics on the morning of 13 December. Both ministers took the opportunity to announce a 21% increase in teachers’ salaries, linking it to the deal with Brussels.

“As soon as the EU money is available, there will be a salary increase for teachers”, they said.

Gulyás emphasised that the negotiations “ended with the victory of Europe, of the European Union”, of which Hungary “is part”.

On the part of the usual opponents of Viktor Orbán and Hungary in Brussels, the German Green MEP Daniel Freund was very critical of the deal, saying: “Thanks to the case of Hungary, we now know exactly which European institutions care about the rule of law. The European Parliament is at 100%, the European Commission at 65%, and the Council at 55%.

His French colleague Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, a member of the same Greens/EFA group, was more positive about what had happened: “EU member states finally agreed to cut Hungary’s cohesion budget by 55%. This is a key step after weeks of political blackmail by Fidesz. Let’s work with the European Commission and the European Council to advance the Article 7 procedure and stop Hungary’s regression on the rule of law. ”