“There is a never before seen level of funding resources available for environmental protection and conservation in Hungary. A budget of 3540 billion forints (EUR 11.5bn) is available for this purpose within the European Union’s current programming period, which lasts until 2020, for instance to fund energy-efficient technologies, agro-environmental management and the protection of aquatic habitats”, the Minister of Agriculture said on M1 Hungarian television and Kossuth Radio’s Wednesday morning current affairs program.

“There were 38 billion forints available for environmental development programmes during the previous EU programming period, from which, amongst others, 16 ecotourism facilities were renewed and the country gained 53 new facilities. In addition, the state of natural habitats were improved, historical botanical gardens were renovated and established, and a host of conservation projects were successfully realised”, Sándor Fazekas pointed out.

The Minister explained that in the upcoming years national parks will be able to spend significantly more, some 61.5 billion forints directly for conservation purposes. Four major projects will be launched this year: visitors’ centres will be constructed at Lake Balaton Minor, the Danube Bend, the Körös Valley and the eastern gateway to the Bükk Hills, which will be capable of welcoming hundreds of thousands of tourists and hikers. In addition, the conservation and environmental condition of some one hundred thousand hectares of protected territory will be improved in view of the fact that habitat rehabilitation projects, water supplementation projects and aquatic habitat rehabilitation projects are also included in the programme, he continued.

Mr. Fazekas also spoke about the fact that the available funding will also facilitate the renovation of farms that breed autochthonous species and conservation watch facilities, as well as protected caves, beehive rocks and earth forts. The rehabilitation, long-term conservation, presentation and research of these natural formations will also be realised, he added.

“Rural Hungary is becoming enriched with more and more tourist attractions: our protected natural treasures and the majority of ecotourism attractions are managed by national park directorates. More and more people in Hungary are visiting the country’s natural treasures; the ten national parks that cover the whole area of the country welcomed 1 million 6000 thousand visitors last year”, Mr. Fazekas said.

(Ministry of Agriculture Press Office)