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Feb 09, 2021

Gergely Gulyás calls EU request to reform Hungarian public procurement law “fake news”

The Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said it is fake news that the European Commission expects Hungary to amend its public procurement law.

 

The Hungarian Government has not received any request from Brussels, neither official nor informal, concerning public procurements, Gulyás told Hungarian news agency MTI following reports of such a request coming out of Hungarian media, based on a Reuters report.

The government is in continuous talks with the Commission on the recovery package as well as the next 7-year budget, he added, noting that Szabolcs Ágostházy, Minister of State for EU Development Projects, is also in the middle of negotiations in Brussels.

The government expects the European Commission to clear the air and immediately refute the allegations that have been made, as such fake news undermines and jeopardizes the public confidence needed to ratify decisions related to its own resources, the minister said.

He emphasized that based on EU data, public procurement practice is particularly good in Hungary in terms of its decision-making aspects; its transparency of public procurement procedures is outstanding, and 98 percent of information on public procurement procedures is publicly available.

The number of unpublished public procurement procedures has decreased from 3,600 to 274 in the last six years, Gulyás pointed out, adding that in 2019, based on the Single Market Scoreboard, the EU assessed Hungary’s overall performance regarding public procurement as “average.”

Hungary is among the 10 Member States with the best indicators, with a total of five member states having fewer “red signals” — that is, areas where the Commission recommends change — than Hungary, Gulyás underlined.

Nevertheless, the Hungarian Cabinet adopted a separate resolution aimed at reducing the proportion of single bidding to below 15 percent, he indicated, also noting that “we were the ones who explicitly supported the introduction of rules not based on general, unknown political criteria to protect the EU’s financial interests.”

Photo credit: Origo