Using European Union funds involves a complex process; Member States must adhere to wide-ranging EU and domestic legislation, non-compliance can lead to irregularities. Besides accordance with the letter of the law, also the general EU budgetary principles, in particular sound financial management, must be given full consideration. The paper presents Hungary’s evolving approach to handling irregularities and her experience in creating the corresponding legal and institutional framework. The research also assesses how the perspective of the European Commission, in particular of its auditors, has contributed to legal uncertainties.
In the draft legislation for the 2021 – 2027 budgetary period, the European Commission proposes a new requirement, namely the rule of law conditionality.3 Its clarity and objectivity, however, are still being widely discussed. Additionally, cohesion policy conditionalities have always contained an obligation for the proper functioning of the institutions – including the courts. Nonetheless, the European Commission has not previously examined the performance of the courts in relation to proceeding irregularity and recovery disputes. The presented Hungarian case study not only explains the particular challenges that call for revisiting the appeal system in Hungary; it warns of the general difficulties Member States may face when embedding the irregularity and recovery management functions into their national legislation, whereas the paper also gives notice to the long-awaited analysis of the root problems invoking irregularities.