The opposition Párbeszéd party has called on the government to consult with local councils, professional organisations and civil groups on its post-pandemic recovery plan.
Benedek Jávor, the party’s European Union expert, told an online press conference on Friday that the government should have been holding consultations with social partners on its recovery and resilience plan since November. Its failure to do so, he added, went against EU rules on the bloc’s post-pandemic recovery fund.
Jávor criticised the government’s plan for being “extremely weak from a professional standpoint”. Whereas the EU regulations mandate that member states spend at least 37 percent of their share of the funds on tackling climate change and around a quarter of it on digitalisation, Hungary’s recovery plan fails to meet these targets, he said.
Instead, he said, the government wanted to spend almost the entirety of the 5,800 billion forint (EUR 16.2bn) package on construction projects, when the EU’s country-specific recommendations for Hungary make it clear, for example, that the cabinet should extend the period during which the jobseekers’ allowance is paid.
Jávor said the European Commission was unsatisfied with the anti-graft measures outlined in the package, saying it had not seen enough guarantees that the monies coming from the recovery fund “wouldn’t get lost through channels of corruption”.
He said the government was putting the package’s approval at risk, insisting that if the EC did not approve the plan, payouts to Hungary from the recovery fund could be delayed by several months.
Jávor called on the government to allocate more funding within the plan towards renewable energy, the protection of ecosystems, investments in water management and projects aimed at addressing climate change.
Featured photo by Boglárka Bodnár/MTI