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Navracsics: Funding deal with EU ‘won’t depend on Hungarian government’

Reaching agreement with the European Union on the Recovery and Resilience Fund (RRF) will not depend on the Hungarian government, Tibor Navracsics, the minister for regional development, told journalists on Friday, though he put the probability of an agreement at "98.8 percent".

The government readying itself for an agreement and “will do everything” to reach one, but it will not be the government’s fault if a deal is not forthcoming, he said. When it comes to the outcome of negotiations, he added, the ball was in the EC’s court.

Hungary “is open to all proposals” and “even legislative amendments” may be considered where relevant, he said.

Navracsics said the European Commission had not asked Hungary to join the EU prosecutor’s office, though, he added, the possibility that Hungary may do so could not be ruled out.

In the course of talks with the EU, “the system of expectations” were “moving” in many cases, he added.

The minister said expectations were such that a decision on whether Hungary would use part of the RFF loan would have to be made this year.

He said Hungary’s recovery plan was a good one and would make the country more competitive. Borrowing conditions under the facility were “better than the market conditions”, he added.

The government, Navracsics noted, must respond to the European Court of Justice’s concerns about the rule of law by Aug. 22.

The EC’s own data shows that “Hungary is not anywhere near being among the most corrupt EU member states,” he said.

Hungary, he noted, has undertaken to reduce the proportion of single-bid public procurement to 15 percent.

All operational programmes will be submitted to the EU by July 31, and the committee will have five months to evaluate them, the minister noted. A partnership agreement is likely to be signed in the meantime, he said, allowing the EU to disburse the money based on the approved operational programmes.

Addressing the question of whether Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s speech in Baile Tusnad would affect the negotiations, Navracsics said he had not encountered any specific signs of this happening. Asked about his personal opinion of the speech, he said his opinion was irrelevant, and his job was to negotiate EU funding and oversee regional development.

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