Victor Orban

Corruption in the Union: Orban’s ‘Cash Register’

by Jane Chelliah

Fresh allegations have emerged that EU Structural Funds worth billions of Euros have been awarded to friends and family of Victor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary. The alarm has been raised by the EU’s anti-fraud office, Olaf, which says it has found “serious irregularities” over EU contracts. Orban’s circle are accused of using the EU as a ‘cash register’.
The charges of corruption fit well with Orban’s cynical, right-radical politics. The PM is a vociferous right-wing critic of the EU. He has compared it to the Soviet Union, and he is currently running a ‘Stop Brussels’ campaign.
Yet they are also somewhat ironic, given Hungary’s lucrative position inside the EU. Hungary remains one of the largest per capita recipients of EU’s economic development funds. Hungary is due to receive 25bn Euros over a 7-year period to 2021. However, a lack of an open competition process is cited which has resulted in sole bids being advanced by Orban’s family and allies. Most notably, his son-in- law, Istvan Tiborcz, won a contract to supply street lamps but these were charged at above market prices according to analysis carried out.
The MEP who leads the European Parliament’s budgetary control committee, Ingeborg Grassie, spoke of a new type of “semi legal” irregularity emerging whereby oligarchs become politicians and benefit at the same time from EU and national money for their companies.
DiEM25 has consistently campaigned for EU financial reform. These new charges against Orban suggest even more urgency to these reforms – not only to stanch out corruption, but also to strike at the root of Europe’s radical right politics in the process.
 

Jane is a member of our London DSC and blogs at www.ambitiousmamas.co.uk on feminism, politics and race. You can also follow her on Twitter.

 
Photo: THIERRY CHARLIER/AFP/Getty Images
 

Do you want to be informed of DiEM25's actions? Sign up here

The Green New Deal for Europe guarantees social and climate justice

With the GNDE and the European Justice Commission, the EU can direct the system to reforms that will benefit the climate, while prioritising ...

Read more
Multinationals, how much do they pay and where? A call for transparency.

European leadership on public country-by-country reporting could fix the environment of secrecy and abuse in the tax practices of multinationals.

Read more
The Green New Deal for Europe can shield us from future pandemics

The risk of triggering pandemics such as the current COVID-19 crisis increases exponentially as we ignore calls to address climate breakdown.

Read more
Failure to deal with Dominic Cummings is a failure of British democracy

The case of Cummings and the shameless defence of him by all prominent ministers, has eroded much of the public faith in the PM and his government.

Read more