EU: Record number of infringement cases against Hungary

July 11, 2017

There were a record number of European Union infringement proceedings against Hungary in 2016, reports

According to the EU’s 2016 report, there are 57 ongoing infringement cases against Hungary, a five-year record for the country. Still, Hungary is situated only somewhere in the middle of the playing field of Member States facing infringement proceedings.

While the European Commission initiated the fifth most infringement proceedings against Hungary last year compared to other Member States, the number of new cases against Hungary hit a record low. This is because the EU is currently prosecuting multiple cases in which it has been unable to settle an agreement with Hungary for years.

In the vast majority of cases the Commission raised an objection against public procurements in which there was only a single applicant. In assessing the legality of public procurements, the EU takes into account the amount of information provided for applicants, the speed of announcement of results, and the number of applicants.

The latter is so important that it is weighted with a tripled score in the overall rating. Since 2014, more than one-third of the public procurements in Hungary have had only one bidder.

The other area where the European Commission was not satisfied with Hungary’s performance is joint procurements, when numerous companies launch a joint public procurement.

The European Commission has the option of commencing infringement proceedings whenever it considers that a Member State has breached Community law. The infringement procedure starts with a letter of formal notice, by which the Commission allows the Member State to present its views regarding the breach observed. If the Commission is not satisfied with the Member State’s answer, it can move to the next stage, reasoned opinion. If necessary, the Commission refers the case to the European Court of Justice.