After years of diplomatic tension and fruitless negotiations, it has recently become evident that Hungary has officially lost its access to the EUR 215 million grants provided by Norway. While the Orbán government has announced legal action against Oslo, Hungary’s opposition parties believe the agreement between the two parties simply failed because ruling Fidesz “only wants the money it can actually steal.”
It was revealed on Wednesday that Hungary has become the only EU country that won’t receive the development funding from the EEA countries (most importantly from Norway) in return for full market access to the EU. The parties could not settle on terms, namely whether the organization responsible for the distribution of the money should be independent from the Hungarian government.
Reacting to the news, opposition LMP said it was unacceptable that the government had sacrificed HUF 77 billion [EUR 215 m] in a petty power struggle.
The green party believes “the Orbán regime has once again proved that nothing is too expensive for them, when it comes to having control over every penny.”
LMP believes the Orbán government is sending the false message that Hungary does not have the need for health improvements, climate protection measures, and support for small and medium-sized enterprises, which are among the areas where the Norway Grants aid could have been used.
Like LMP, opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) also slammed the government for Hungary “losing out” on EUR 215 million of financial aid.
“The propaganda center that replaced the former public media is operating with this much a year, Lake Velence could be restored twice with this money, and we are spending only slightly more money than this to relaunch tourism after COVID,” commented Klára Dobrev, the party’s candidate for prime minister, adding that the government didn’t need all this money because it would have been unable to steal it.
Momentum party made a similar assessment regarding the news.
“[Ruling] Fidesz only wants money it can actually steal,” the party wrote in a statement. According to Momentum, Hungary and Hungarian NGOs are “losing out” on funding from the Norway Grants because of the Orbán government’s “war on civilians.”
In a statement, Jobbik also heavily criticized the government. “Orbán not only gets the money temporarily entrusted to him stolen by his family members and stooges, but also refuses foreign aid offered if he cannot steal it,” the party wrote.
Budapest mayor, Gergely Karácsony, the prime ministerial candidate of opposition MSZP-Párbeszéd, said that although the country was in great need for the Norway funds, the government had given up the 77 billion forints because it would not have been given to circles close to them.
“The interests of the [ruling] Fidesz top 1 percent have once again overruled the interests of the 99 percent majority,” the mayor wrote on Facebook.
In the featured photo Klára Dobrev opposition DK’s candidate for prime minister. Photo by Attila Kovács/MTI