According to MEPs of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz and Christian Democratic parties, the European Commission’s budget proposal for the next seven-year cycle and its programme aimed at supporting the reconstruction of national economies after the coronavirus epidemic “give no reason for hope”.
In a statement, Fidesz delegation head Tamás Deutsch welcomed that the 750-billion-euro reconstruction package, announced earlier in the day, would not be set up through cutting funds from the multiannual financial framework, thus reducing financing for community-funded development projects or the common agricultural policy. Expressing support for those programmes, Deutsch said that cohesion funds should be distributed with regard to the different level of member states, as well as the impact of the coronavirus epidemic in those countries. Closing gaps and promoting economic growth through cohesion policies will be crucial once the crisis is over, he said.
Deutsch said that the EC was planning to finance the reconstruction programme from long-term loans, which member states would repay, in proportion to their contributions to the EU budget, over a period of 30 years. Hungary contributes 1 percent to the budget, and would be required to repay 1 percent of the 750 billion euros, that is 7.5 billion euros, Deutsch said. “In view of this, it is unacceptable that Hungary would only receive 8.1 billion euros in grants from the EU,” he insisted.
MEP Enikő Győri said that the pandemic was likely to have a less serious impact on the Hungarian economy, but it would be unjust to allocate less funding to central and eastern European states “just because they have successfully managed the epidemic” and “kept reducing their state debts through fiscal discipline for years”. The crisis has impacted all countries and it is important to distribute reconstruction funds in a fair way, on equal conditions between countries in and outside the euro zone, she said.
MEP Balázs Hidvéghi said that Hungary’s position on the common agricultural policy has remained unchanged: its budget must be kept at the current level in real value. The new, much higher environmental requirements put a great extra burden on farmers, he said, adding that the EU’s current target figures “seem impossible to meet”.
In the featured photo: Fidesz MEP Tamás Deutsch. Photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI