“The application of European Union funding is outstanding in Hungary, even in V4 comparison: the Government has already distributed over 60 percent of the budget to the implementors of the projects, with which it is way ahead of the countries of the Visegrád Group”, the Ministry for Innovation and Technology’s Minister of State for European Union Development Policy Tamás Schanda said.

At the annual conference of the Human Resources Development Operative Programme (EFOP), the Minister of State added: in the surrounding countries, this figure only approaches 20 percent. “Hungary has some 9000 billion forints (EUR 28bn) at its disposal in the 2014-2020 development period. 570 tenders have been published, including with funding that is being supplemented by the Hungarian Government. A total of over 300 thousand funding applications have been submitted with relation to all of the operative programmes, of which 200 thousand projects have received funding”, he stated.

“Government targets are being kept to, tenders have been launched in a timely fashion, contracts for the full amount have been concluded with those realising projects, and the processes of undertakings, payments and settling accounts are moving forward in a planned  and balanced manner”, he stressed.

“The Government is working to assure that the EU has a budget that is not determined politically, but which faithfully reflects the will of the European and Hungarian people”, he indicated.

“The use of funding is efficient”, he underlined. “Despite this, the European Commission wants to reduce Hungary’s funding: according to the planned EU budget, funding for cohesion policy would fall by some 10 percent, and Hungary would suffer a reduction of 24 percent. This is unacceptable”, he declared.

“We are also not prepared to accept the fact that the Commission would like to introduce indices with relation to the distribution of funding among member states, that would put member states that perform well in a less favourable financial position, but reward those that do not perform well. And it is most definitely unacceptable that proportionally more money would be taken away from poorer member states than from more affluent ones. This not good for the EU, or for Hungary”, he said.

“Hungary also rejects the fact that the EU wants to finance the tasks that have arisen with relation to migration to the detriment of cohesion policy”, he added.

He pointed out that during the course of negotiations, a draft text has been developed that removes the reference to the Roma community from the list of marginalised communities. He underlined that during this programming period the inclusion of Hungarian Roma citizens has mainly been funded from the EFOP, and providing the Roma community with further assistance and funding remains one of the Government’s important goals in the upcoming period. “The Hungarian Government is still working to assure the adoption of a budget that is not politically motivated, determineds precise goals, respects the agreements currently in force, and also faithfully mirrors the will of the European people”, he emphasised.

Minister of State for EU Development Policy Eszter Vitályos from the Ministry of Human Capacities explained that the EFOP has a budget of almost one thousand billion forints (EUR 3.1bn) for the 2014-2020 period, of which 620 billion have been spent on furthering social cooperation, education, training, and the fight to reduce poverty and discrimination. The remaining 330 billion has been spent on developing infrastructure relating to these goals. In accordance with Government targets, tenders for the full EFOP budget were published by the end of March 2017, and contracts relating to the full budget have since been concluded at a total value of 920 billion forints. A total of 580 billion forints in funding has so far been paid out to beneficiaries.

According to the Minister of State, thousands of successful projects and results realised within the framework of the EFOP will be presented at the conference. Amongst others, as one of the main programmes of the conference, the programme aimed at the establishment of “Sure Start” children’s homes will be showcased, which each year facilitates the integration of some 2500 Roma children living in extreme poverty.