Out of HUF 145 billion of European Union funds available for social development in Hungary in 2014-2021, the government has already found “good homes” for HUF 104 billion. Only the remaining one-third is available to social organizations through open tender, thus violating the principle of transparency and equal chances, according to Autonomy Foundation.
The foundation says Hungarian organizations dealing with social issues have been waiting for the available EU programs for more than a year, as “practically hundreds of organizations in the sector have been vegetating with no source of funds since 2013”.
The fact that only one-third of the funds is available for open tenders excludes locally embedded organizations from any real chance of receiving EU funding, Autonomy Foundation says. “Centralizing resources to such a degree will not leave any room for the social innovation projects reacting to local needs”, which, according to the foundation, would be the most effective way of using the money. For this reason they suggest using independent experts to oversee the programs and the organizations running them.
Among the already assigned programs are the HUF 2 billion “Roma mentor network” development project assigned to the István Türr Training and Research Institute and the National Roma Government, and the so-called “Church-based education infrastructure development” program. This program was given to the Don Bosco Sports Centre, the Diocese in Győr and the Evangelic Congregation of Győr. The total amount allocated for the program is HUF 4.95 billion.
One big winner is the National Roma Government’s (ORÖ) “Bridge to the world of labor” program that has been the subject of a corruption scandal. However, the studies serving as the basis for allegations have not been made public and even the members of ORÖ could not obtain them. Our sister publication abcug.hu also tried to obtain the documents by requesting them as public data, but to no avail.