In the wake of state secretary Janos Lazar’s scathing attack on Norway for allegedly interfering in Hungary’s domestic politics, the following statement was posted yesterday on the EEA and Norway Grants website regarding the disbursement of development grants to Hungary:
SUSPENSION OF EEA AND NORWAY GRANTS TO HUNGARY
Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland have decided to suspend further disbursements of funds to Hungary under the EEA and Norway Grants scheme. The reason for this is that the Hungarian Government has moved the implementation and monitoring of the Grants scheme out of the central government administration. This is in breach of the agreements that have been entered into.
As of 1 January, the Hungarian Government transferred the national implementation and monitoring of programmes and funds under the EEA and Norway Grants scheme from a ministry to an independent, state-owned company.
This was a unilateral decision on the part of Hungary, and thus in breach of the rules for the EEA and Norway Grants and the agreements Hungary has entered into with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. So far, dialogue with the Hungarian Government has not led to a solution.
The three donor countries are very concerned about the negative effect that the lack of a National Focal Point has had on the implementation of programmes in Hungary and remain committed to reaching a mutually acceptable solution to this situation as soon as possible. The Prime Minister’s Office in Hungary has been invited to Brussels by the donor countries to discuss a new National Focal Point in Hungary.
The EEA and Norway Grants are a contribution on the part of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to reducing social and economic disparities in the EEA.
Hungary is a relatively large recipient of EEA and Norway Grants. For the current period, €153.3 million has been allocated, of which €11.76 million has already been paid out.