Tibor Navracsics – Photo: Flickr

Regional development minister sums up talks on EU funding for Hungary

The Hungarian government and the European Commission have always discussed contentious issues and differences of opinion, and will continue to do so, the regional development minister told daily Magyar Nemzet in an interview published on Thursday.

“I was optimistic and committed all along, and wanted to avoid by all means that Hungary should end up losing funding,” Tibor Navracsics said about the Hungarian government’s negotiations with the EC on access to European Union funding over the past half year.

The paper noted that Hungary had signed all agreements with the European Commission facilitating access to EU funds by the end of the year, adding that an advance payment of 130 billion forints (EUR 323m) was expected to arrive, after which public tenders would be announced and actual projects could be launched.

Commenting on “attacks” against the government during the talks, Navracsics said the EC had raised no objections, other than in points of “political tastes”.

He said that working relationship with the Commission “is very good on the various policy fields” and the government will seek to maintain “this correct relationship” in future.

As regards the timetable for the releasing of the funds, Navracsics said consultations would be held in the coming weeks with Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, to be followed by parliamentary approval of a package of related laws at the end of March. If the March deadline is met, the EC said the release of funds could follow in April or May, Navracsics said.

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