Why EU parliament is suing Ursula von der Leyen’s commission

The European Commission president unlocked 10 billion euros for Hungary in return for its backing for Ukraine aid.

The European Parliament is set to take its first ever legal action against the European Commission regarding its decision in December 2023 to release 10 billion euros in frozen funds to Hungary.

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This move comes amidst efforts by Brussels to persuade Budapest to lift its veto on aid to Ukraine. The decision to pursue a lawsuit was reached by party leaders in the European Parliament last week and could complicate Ursula von der Leyen’s re-election bid as Commission president during the EU parliament elections in June.

Von der Leyen authorized the release of a portion of approximately 30 billion in EU funding that Brussels had withheld due to a rule of law dispute with Budapest. This decision came just days before a summit where Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had vetoed a new aid package for Ukraine.

Orbán later relented and allowed the aid to proceed. The legal suit is expected to be filed by the Parliament’s president, Roberta Metsola, in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg before 25 March.

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The dispute between the legislative and executive powers of the EU bloc favors Russia and Vladimir Putin particularly, who has been actively sowing distrust and factionalism among Western allies in a bid to halt their support for Ukraine.

Viktor Orbán’s government has repeatedly called on the EU to stop supporting Kyiv and to seek peace with Russia.

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