The government will conclude a partnership agreement with the European Union in the second half of 2022 which will enable Hungary to access EU funds, the minister for regional development and the utilization of EU funds announced on Tuesday.
Hungary will then have access to 10,000 billion forints (EUR 24bn) for its operative programs and an additional 4,000 billion in rural agriculture development, Tibor Navracsics said at a press conference in Budapest, after a meeting of the Association of Cities with County Rights (MJVSZ).
Tibor Navracsics’s comments regarding a possible agreement between Brussels and Budapest, comes on the heels of the European Commission’s earlier decision to freeze access to Hungary’s plan for the EU’s coronavirus recovery fund, under which the country was initially set to receive €7.2 billion in grants. (Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the government signaled that Hungary also planned to tap the cheap loans offered under the program).
Brussels cites concerns over the state of rule of law and the level of corruption in Hungary, while the Orbán government claims Brussels is simply blocking the funds over the country’s LGBT policies and a host of other ideologically motivated concerns. As the commission recently gave the green light to Poland’s request, Hungary remains the only EU member state without an approved recovery plan.
“The aim is to avoid those developments planned by local governments to suffer further delays,” Navracsics said, calling county seats “regional economic hubs” which play an important role in ensuring jobs and public services. He noted that in 2014, parliament had adopted the National Development and Territorial Development Concept, which defines the country’s development policy goals until 2030.
Károly Szita, the president of MJVSZ, at the same press conference said that county seats produce one-third of Hungary’s GDP.
Featured photo by Zoltán Máthé/MTI