EU Cohesion and Reforms Commissioner: discussion on EU payments for Hungary “constructive”
September 20. 2023. – 08:44 AM
Discussions with the Hungarian Minister for Regional Development Tibor Navracsics on the issue of Hungarian payments being withheld by the European Union have been constructive, EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira told Telex. The politician was in Estonia to visit the city of Narva, in Ida-Viru county, which is a user of the EU's Just Transition Fund (JTF).
"Naturally, I cannot disclose what was said at the meeting, but I can tell you that this was not the first such meeting. We often organise similar talks, and I hope that the situation will be resolved soon and the Hungarian people will be able to receive the funds," she said, referring to her recent meetings with Tibor Navracsics and Hungary's EU Affairs Minister János Bóka. “Our contact has been much more regular with Mr Navracsics, but I know that another minister also joined him this time. The agenda is very detailed, but the discussion has been constructive. Of course, we aren't only talking about my portfolio, as that depends on the basic conditions being met, and there is also an ongoing dialogue with other members of the Commission.”
Ferreira said that pre-financing had been provided under the new partnership agreement: “Technical support has been provided for the necessary conditions to be met. Normal procedure requires that the basic conditions indicated in the Charter of Fundamental Rights are met for the period between 2021 and 2027, and this is the backbone of the negotiations. We need to see if the conditions necessary for us to have a normal relationship with Hungary again can be put in place quickly, because Hungary is a very important part of the European Union and we would very much like its people to be able to use the resources. But of course there are preconditions for that.”
As previously reported, through a complex set of conditions, the EU has blocked most of the new funding available for Hungary from 2021. In principle, the biggest portion of the cohesion funding available from the 2021-2027 budget could be unlocked through judicial reform, which the government signed into law and announced in July, promptly attaching the first payment request as well. The European Commission has 90 days to evaluate the former and 60 days to review the latter.
On the assessment of the judicial eligibility condition, the Commissioner said that the details were currently being negotiated by the Hungarian government and the relevant Commission members, so there was no new information on this.
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