EU, Hungary break logjam on funding

Hungary has concluded a long-delayed deal with the European Union (EU) on several billion euros of frozen funds, a Minister said here.

“All the goals we set for ourselves earlier have been achieved,” Tibor Navracsics, minister for regional development, said on Tuesday.

Late Monday night, the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU announced that a deal had been reached with Hungary related to the blocked funds, reports Xinhua news agency.

The EU member states’ ambassadors approved Hungary’s Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) and concluded an agreement on the so-called conditionality procedure, the Czech Presidency said on Twitter.

This means that Hungary can access two large packages of EU funds.

Some 5.8 billion euros ($6.1 billion) will be unlocked as part of the post-pandemic Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) funds, and another is the operative program of the Cohesion Funds.

Before the agreement, the Czech Presidency confirmed to Politico that Hungary had cancelled its vetoes on both the 18-billion-euro joint EU loan destined at helping Ukraine, and the global minimum tax, which Budapest also opposed.

Earlier, EU officials said that the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban had been using these vetoes as leverage to deblock the frozen funds — charges that the country’s government and Orban himself firmly denied.

Hungary’s Parliament will still have to adopt a package of laws by the end of March 2023, after which the suspension of EU Cohesion Funds could be lifted in April.

The government also said that in the case of the Cohesion Funds, the initial freeze of 65 per cent of the funds had been reduced to 55 per cent.

Later on Monday, Orban announced a 15-per cent pension hike in the country effective January 2023.

20221214-102004

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