The government on Tuesday submitted Hungary’s plan for utilizing the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) which covers more than 2,500 billion forints (EUR 7bn) worth of strategic development projects over the next six years, the state secretary in charge of EU developments said.
Szabolcs Ágostházy said on Wednesday that the development of the health system was the plan’s most significant element, utilizing 34.1 percent of available resources.
Other highlighted areas are environmentally friendly transport development and comprehensive development of education systems, including higher education, vocational training and adult education, he said. Some 25 percent and 20.4 percent of the resources are planned to be spent on these two areas, respectively.
Additional development plans include promoting the switchover to the circular economy, closing the gap between underdeveloped and better-developed areas, as well as environmental protection, he added.
The Hungarian RRF fully meets common EU targets, with climate protection and digitalization developments included in every area, he said. The government has tailored the areas for development to its own national strategic targets, he added.
Hungary will act similarly to the majority of member states, and for the time being will not tap all the credit available under the arrangements of RRF, he said. However, the option to do so will be available until 2023, he added.
Hungary has conducted intensive and constructive talks with the European Commission in the past eight months, and the government has involved some 500 organizations in social dialogue, including local governments, economic, social organizations and interest-representation bodies, he said.
The EU decision-making process will take three months from the time the document is submitted, Ágostházy noted. Like other member states, Hungary will press ahead with consultations on specific technical areas, but any need for major changes is unlikely, he said, adding that Hungary anticipates receiving approval for its RRF bid in August.
European Commission on Tuesday confirmed having received Hungary’s official plan for how to spend money from the recovery fund over the next six years.
Ursula von der Leyen, the commission’s president, noted on Twitter that the transition to a green economy, the digital economy, health, research, cohesion and public administration reforms, as well as sustainable transport, energy and the circular economy, would be the focus of Hungary’s planned investments.
The commission will evaluate Hungary’s plan in the next two months, she added. An assessment will be made of whether the plan would help to address all or a significant portion of the challenges identified in the country-specific recommendations issued under the European Semester country reports.
Hungary is required to spend at least 37 percent of its expenditures on investments and reforms in support of climate policy objectives, and 20 percent on the digital switchover.
The European Council will have four weeks to approve the commission’s proposal in connection with Hungary’s plan. Once forthcoming, Hungary will receive pre-financing worth 13 percent of the total, though all other member states will have to sign off before further disbursements are made.
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