Steps Towards a Reformed Financial Criminal Law in Hungary

With Hungary’s accession to the European Union, the national and European budgets got into considerably closer contact with each other. On the other hand, we should also see and note that after the accession, the practice of budget fraud related to acquisitions within the EU has evolved. These crimes included various VAT-related frauds such as accepting pro forma invoices related to domestic sales activities and other economic activities related to acquisitions and sales within the Community. In the second part of our series on budget fraud in Hungary, we focus on the effective Hungarian regulation. Read more… (Petra Ágnes Kanyuk)

The Origins of the Criminal Law Protection of the Budget in Hungary

The protection of the European Union’s financial interests holds a prominent place within the EU’s institutional framework, as is historically evident from the inclusion in EU primary law of the requirement that Member States ensure their effective protection, equivalent to that reserved for their national counterparts. As regards the Hungarian regulation, on the road leading to the establishment of the legal definition of budget fraud currently in force in the new Criminal Code, the effective protection of the budget of the EU or EC as a need was the most pronounced among the factors which brought about the formulation. In the following, we aim to summarise the outline of the development of budget fraud in Hungary in two parts. Read more… (Petra Ágnes Kanyuk)

European Parliament declares Polish Constitutional Tribunal illegitimate in the face of threat to the primacy of EU law

In a resolution adopted on 21 October, the European Parliament (EP) declared the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland as not only “lacking legal validity and independence” but also “unqualified to interpret the Constitution of Poland”. This scathing denunciation comes as an answer to the 7 October decision of the Constitutional Tribunal that found the provisions of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) incompatible with the Polish Constitution on multiple grounds, thus posing a direct challenge to the established principle of the primacy of EU law. Read more… (Daniel Szilágyi)

All Eyes on Warsaw – Locked in a Legal Battle with the EU over the Legitimacy of Judicial and Constitutional Reforms

Poland has got its last seven days in court – with a bouquet of rulings in Warsaw and at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg that could have far-reaching implications for the European Union’s (EU’s) legal order. We will unpack what these rulings are about and how they fit into Poland’s clash with the EU. Read more… (Petra Ágnes Kanyuk)

Scientific Cooperation in Times of Pandemic. Conference on Recent Challenges in Financial Regulation

The Department of Financial Law and Public Management of the Faculty of Law of the University of Debrecen has had a scientific relationship with the Institute of Financial Law of the Polish Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski for several years. Thanks to the established network of contacts, several joint tax law research projects and professional events took place over the years. The Faculty of Law of the University of Debrecen is also involved in the CEEPUS mobility cooperation titled “KULTAX Financial and Tax Law in Central Europe”, initiated by the Polish partner university. The most recent conference, held on 21 May 2021, discussed a topical issue, “Financial Regulation in the Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic”. Read more… (Dóra Lovas)

Three new cases: State aid for airlines – were they justified in view of the impact of the pandemic or not?

In view of the economic difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was unthinkable for the European Commission not to ease restrictions on State aid. As such, the European Commission approved unprecedented forms of State aid to save the epidemic-struck European economy. In this context, the governments of the member states have poured billions of euros into the airline industry, which has been hit particularly hard by virus-related restrictions and lockdowns. According to Ryanair, State aid given to national airlines constitutes unfair competition; as such, the airline has filed 16 lawsuits against the Commission for allowing the provision of State aid to individual airlines. On 19 May, the General Court has delivered three judgments, deciding to uphold Ryanair’s actions for the annulment of Commission State aid decisions in respect of TAP and KLM, but dismissed the action concerning Spain. Read more… (Krisztina Széles)

Safeguarding consumer interest in EU energy markets

The right to have access to public services (in EU terminology ’services of general interests’, SGIs and ‘services of general economic interests’, SGEIs) is of crucial importance for citizen. It has also been confirmed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. This right involves the requirement for establishing an effective consumer protection regime both at the national and the EU level. Due to the evolution of the legal framework, the EU is an important supranational actor in the regulation of public services today. The paper analyses the evolution of consumer protection in this field from the very beginning stage of the European integration until today, with a special focus on secondary legislation of the European Union aiming at liberalization in the energy sector. Read more… (Ildikó Bartha)

Advocate General: national legislation or judicial practice precluding judges from referring questions to the Court of Justice is incompatible with EU law

According to Advocate General Pikamäe’s Opinion in Case C-564/19 IS, delivered on 15 April 2021, the Hungarian legislation enabling the public prosecutor to bring an action before the Supreme Court (Kúria) to declare a lower criminal court’s order for reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union unlawful, and the decision of the Supreme Court establishing that unlawfulness, are incompatible with the principle of the primacy of EU law, as they undermine the power of the lower court to refer questions to Court of Justice. As such, in the opinion of the Advocate General, the decision of the Kúria and the underlying national legislation must be set aside. Read more… (Daniel Szilágyi)