The Open Spending EU Coalition today urged Poland and Hungary to include strong guarantees of transparency in their National Plans under the Recovery and Resilience Facility Fund (RRF) and called on the European Commission to ensure that such transparency is clearly stated before approving the plans.
The European Commission has said that it has not yet accepted the National Plans of Poland and Hungary due to the need for additional clarifications from the governments of both countries. Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis stated that Poland and Hungary will not receive funds from the RRF Fund until they meet the requirements presented by the European Commission. In the case of Hungary, information presented by the Commission stressed that the government in Budapest had not met the requirements for improving its anti-corruption system. In addition, in the case of Poland, there are doubts about the actions of the Polish Government regarding the recognition of the primacy of Polish law over EU law.
A further serious problem with the Hungarian and Polish RRF plans, identified by the Open Spending EU Coalition is the lack of transparency commitments. In our June 2021 study, we found that the Polish Plan has no commitments to make transparent RRF spending, and the Hungarian Plan only to a limited extent.
The Open Spending EU Coalition therefore reiterates its call for urgent steps to be taken to strengthen transparency as a vital anti-corruption component that should be a precondition for the receipt of RRF funds.
By making expenditure transparent and creating opportunities for greater scrutiny by civil society and journalists, money earmarked for the National Plan will be spent in line with the purpose of the RRF and the risk of it being wasted or diverted to government cronies will be reduced.
Specifically, we call on the governments of Poland and Hungary to include guarantees of greater transparency in their National Plans. We expect the European Commission to discuss this issue with the authorities of both countries as well. It is also the Commission’s responsibility to ensure that European taxpayers' money is spent effectively in all Member States and to this end we urge the Commission to require that all countries benefiting from the RRF implement transparency mechanisms for spending money from the fund.
The Open Spending EU Coalition is a collaboration of non-government organisations and professionals working at the national and EU level to advance the principles of openness in spending of funds, procurement, and company ownership within the EU.