The Minister for Regional Development is confident that an agreement with the European Commission will be reached by the end of the year, allowing Hungary to have real access to EU funds, not just to advance payments, Tibor Navracsics told journalists in Budapest on Tuesday, reacting to press reports about unfreezing the EU funds.
As reported in Hungary Today yesterday, the Financial Times has written about a possible agreement between the EU and Hungary. According to the report, the European Commission is preparing to unlock billions of euros in EU funds currently frozen over alleged rule-of-law concerns in Hungary, ensuring Budapest’s support for a significant increase in the EU budget and substantial financial aid to Ukraine.
The minister said on Monday that he has been optimistic about the progress of the negotiations for the past year and a half, and the recent press reports confirm this optimism. However, in response to a question, he noted that no formal request had yet been received from the European Commission.
Everything has been negotiated, and we are close to an agreement, including on public interest foundations, cohesion and recovery funds,
Tibor Navracsics confirmed, adding that they are working on answering the questions received from the Commission last week, and are trying to provide satisfactory answers to the National Judicial Council’s working conditions and all the detailed questions.
As for the press reports that the lifting of the freeze could be conditional on the Hungarian government voting in favor of the increase in the EU budget and the financial support to Ukraine, the minister said that
no requests had been received on this issue and that he did not believe that the two cases were linked.
Asked about the recovery funds, he said that the grant part had already been agreed and approved by the Council last year, while negotiations on the HUF 1,500 billion (EUR 3,860 million) loan tranche were at the end of the negotiations. He said that they would be able to agree on this around November this year, and that there would be no loss of resources.
Navracsics reiterated that all the agreements and documents needed to ensure that Hungary does not lose funds have been concluded by the end of 2022. He added that in May this year, parliament adopted a package of laws that addressed the rule of law problems, according to the European Commission’s feedback. He concluded that in its report on the rule of law published in the summer, the Commission itself noted that Hungary had made serious steps to improve the public procurement system.
Via MTI, Featured image: MTI/Bruzák Noémi