In the next budgetary period (2021-2027), Member States are expected to spend EU funds on specific targets set by the European Commission. Being no exception, Hungary has finally received the European Commission’s proposal.
According to a presentation given by Katarina Ivanković Knežević, Director of Social Affairs, Hungary will receive 20.1 billion euros between 2021-2027. From this amount, 11.9 billion euros would be available under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), 3.4 billion euros under the Cohesion Fund and 4.8 billion euros under the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+).
The Committee’s proposal would allocate EU funds to five policy objectives:
- A smarter Europe
- A greener and low-carbon Europe
- A connected Europe
- A more social Europe
- A Europe closer to its citizens
The Committee recommends that the government focus heavily on lagging regions and disadvantaged groups, particularly where employment is concerned:
- Improve access to the job market, especially for the long-term unemployed and inactive
- Encourage women’s participation in the labor market and support a better work-life balance
In the field of education, quality improvement should be treated as a high priority and access to and completion of education needs far better support:
- reduce the number of early school leavers
- reduce the exclusion of disadvantaged groups
- strengthen basic skills and key competencies
- support adult training
In the area of social inclusion, prioritize support for the integration of marginalized communities by:
- utilizing social and educational measures in disadvantaged areas
- dealing with housing exclusion
- reducing discrimination
Ivanković Knežević called attention to the importance of the health care policy by explaining that the population’s health is reflected in labor market conditions. She pointed out that life expectancy in Hungary is almost five years below the EU average, and emphasized that socio-economic status highly affects access to quality care.
For example, the better educated tend to live 13 years longer than those with little or no schooling. Unhealthy lifestyles also play a part. Particularly, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, she noted. In addition, Hungary has one of the highest rates of out of pocket expenditures in the EU. Not to mention, the country’s primary care is of poor quality, and the hospital network is oversized and fragmented.
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