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EU Recommends Cutting Funds For Hungary Over Corruption, Democracy Concerns.

EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn: "We cannot conclude that the EU budget is sufficiently protected." (file photo)

EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn: "We cannot conclude that the EU budget is sufficiently protected." (file photo)

The European Union's executive body called for cutting 7.5 billion euros in funding for Hungary, due to concerns about corruption and backsliding over democracy.

The recommendation, made September 18, was the first to be made by the EU under new policies aimed at protecting the rule of law in the 27-nation bloc.

Hungary has until November 19 to address the concerns, EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn said.

"It's about breaches of the rule of law compromising the use and management of EU funds," Hahn said in Brussels. "We cannot conclude that the EU budget is sufficiently protected."

He said the money would come from “cohesion funds” granted to Hungary, which is one of the biggest parts of the bloc's budget. The money helps countries to bring their economies and infrastructure to meet EU standards.

Any action to suspend Hungary’s funds must be approved by the bloc’s 27 member countries. Under EU rules, this requires what’s called a “qualified majority,” which amounts to 55 percent of the member states representing at least 65 percent of the total EU population.

There was no immediate response to the recommendation from the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

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