Tibor Navracsics, the minister of regional development, has welcomed the European Commission’s support for the adoption of Hungary’s plan for accessing EU recovery funding. The minister said it was “significant progress”.
According to MTI, Navracsics said the commission’s decision did not come as a surprise to the Hungarian government, adding that the “body had informed the government of its position via the media over a week ago”. He said today’s decision was in line with what the EC had communicated in September. Navracsics said today was the first time that the commission had officially said that Hungary’s national Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) plan was “worthy of approval”. The minister pointed out that the commission had praised the Hungarian recovery plan as being “one of the best” and had given it the highest marks with the exception of one category. He said the plan’s approval had already been at arm’s length a year and a half ago, and consultations on it had been ongoing ever since. Navracsics expressed hope that the EC’s decision concerning cohesion monies would open the door to the final round of consultations and a conclusion to the talks after which Hungary and the EU could sign the partnership agreement. Once this is done, Hungary will have achieved the goal it had set in the summer of reaching agreements with the commission over a period of six months in the two areas they had yet to agree on, giving the country access to EU funds from 2023, he added.
Meanwhile, Navracsics said the commission’s decision to uphold its recommendation to freeze 65% of funding for three operative programmes was not a new development. He said this was due to the fact that the government’s “schedule of passing legislation and setting up institutions” included certain deadlines “that we have yet to reach”. Navracsics said he was hopeful that Hungary would fulfil the outstanding commitments as precisely as it had fulfilled all the others. He said he hoped Hungary would be able to convince the commission and the European Council next year that the suspension of the funds did not have to be upheld and that the country could gain access to 100% of the funds in every operative programme. In response to a question, Navracsics said the Hungarian government had always upheld its principles whenever it compromised in the interest of reaching an agreement. He said that if Hungary continued carrying out its programme and meeting more deadlines, it would become clear to both member states and the EC that “we’re not trying to be sneaky”. Throughout the talks, Hungary constantly handled issues that had nothing to do with each other separately, he said. If Hungary and the EC manage to sign two more agreements before the end of the year, the negotiations could be deemed successful, Navracsics said. In response to another question, he said that he would not resign if the agreements fell through owing to others. Navracsics said parliament would not have to hold any special sessions in this matter.