The European Commission's building in Brussels – Photo: wikipedia

Finance Minister: EC ‘owes significant amounts’ to Hungary

The European Commission "owes significant amounts of money" to Hungary, and is hindering the country's economy, Finance Minister Mihaly Varga said on Tuesday, after talks with Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner for Budget and Administration.

Besides calling for its funding from the European Union’s Resilience and Recovery Facility (RRF) to be released, Hungary also “expects answers on how the Commission is planning to support the countries protecting the borders of the Schengen Area in financing growing migration-related costs,” the ministry cited Varga as saying.

The RRF has “not fulfilled its initial promise”, he said, arguing that five member states had yet to receive funding, which, he said, had an impact on Hungary and Europe’s competitiveness.

Had Hungary received the monies it is entitled to, its economy would have grown by more than 5 percent last year, Varga said. Despite the delay, the war in Ukraine and “sanctions-related inflation”, Hungary’s economy expanded by 4.6 percent while the budget deficit and the state debt were reduced, he added.

Hungary’s budget is “steadfast” amid crises and a dangerous international environment, he said.

Meanwhile, “our expenses in border protection will be over 650 billion forints [EUR 1.7bn], of which the EU has only contributed some 1 percent since 2015,” he said.

Regarding support for Ukraine, Varga told Hahn that Hungary had launched the largest humanitarian action of its history and has ploughed some 40 billion forints into aid for the war-torn country. At the same time, a loan taken out jointly by EU countries is not the long-term solution for supporting Ukraine, he said.

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