Hungary among largest beneficiaries of EU funds

September 21, 2016

Yearly average assistance. Left graph: From the EU budget (in millions of Euros). Center graph: From the EU budget per capita (in Euros). Right graph: through the European Investment Bank (in millions of Euros)
Average annual assistance. Left graph: From the EU budget (in millions of euros). Center graph: From the EU budget per capita (in euros). Right graph: Through the European Investment Bank (in millions of euros).

Hungary was the third-highest recipient of European Union money in the 28-member bloc between 2008-2015, and receives far more money from the European Investment Bank than it pays in, reports left-wing daily Népszabadság

The German-based Centre for European Policy (CEP) research institute presented findings in Brussels that showed Hungary is among the highest recipients of European Union financial support in the union. “We wanted to pour clean water into the glass with our research,” said CEP director Matthias Kullas, adding that the EU’s financial support system is increasingly surrounded by lies and misunderstandings. The eurocrisis and BREXIT intensified the debate surrounding who are the winners and losers concerning EU cash flows, he said.

Hungary benefits from reduced interest rates on loans given by the EU and receives an average of more than EUR 4 billion from the EU budget, making it the third-highest net recipient of funds among member states. Distributed across Hungary’s population, that’s some HUF 125,000 (USD 450) per person per year received by the Hungarian government.

Kullas emphasized that the CEP study was important because simply looking at money coming directly from EU budgetary funds paints a false picture of the situation, because countries can use different channels for economic assistance as well.

For example, the European Investment Bank gave almost EUR 1 billion more to Hungary than Hungary had paid into the bank in the given period, making the country the 4th-most EIB-supported EU state. It also received EUR 2.4 billion from the Balance of Payments assistance program, on which it pays below-market interest rates. This makes Hungary the 6th-largest beneficiary of that program in the EU.