Budapest to Get HUF 300 Billion in EU Funding, to Turn Capital into “a Green, Open City of Opportunities”

  • 26 Jan 2024 7:35 AM
  • Hungary Matters
Budapest to Get HUF 300 Billion in EU Funding, to Turn Capital into “a Green, Open City of Opportunities”
Budapest is set to receive 300 billion forints (EUR 775.8m) in European Union development funding over the coming years, the Mayor’s Office said.

The city will get 178 billion forints for transport developments, 50 billion for public space developments, 34 billion for equality developments and 38 billion forints for flood protection and water management, the office said in a statement.

Some of the developments to be funded from the monies are already under way, they added. The funds will be allocated towards the Home in Budapest Strategy aimed at turning the capital into “a green, open city of opportunities”, the office said.

They said key steps could be taken over the coming years to prepare for and mitigate the effects of climate change. The funds will also be used to “ease the housing crisis” and implement significant social developments.

They said the condition for receiving the funds had been that Hungary would have access to them, adding that they were “a recognition of the preparatory work carried out by the city council”.

The statement cited Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony as saying in Brussels that the reason why the funding had been approved was that the city’s urban development goals coincided with those of the European Union.

“We are building a sustainable, green city that exercises solidarity,” Karacsony said, announcing the development package.

Meanwhile, EP Threatening Legal Action Against EC for Unfreezing Funds for Hungary

The European Parliament is threatening to sue the European Commission over its decision to unfreeze a portion of EU funds owed to Hungary, Andor Deli, an MEP of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz told a joint hearing of the EP’s budgets and budgetary control committees in Brussels.

Addressing the hearing on the implementation of the rule-of-law conditionality regulation in connection with Hungary, Deli said the Hungarian government was under attack for ideological reasons.

“Summer is coming,” he said, referring to this year’s European Parliament elections. “By looking at the dissatisfaction” of European citizens, “it seems that this House may become a different place after the elections,” he said.

European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said the EC had decided last December that the judicial reforms adopted by Hungary met the conditions put in place by the Commission.

These reforms, he said, included changes to how the head and deputy head of the Kúria, Hungary’s supreme court, are appointed, as well as changes to the regulation of the administration of courts. Reynders added, however, that the EC still had concerns regarding the child protection law and the asylum law, and “the related parts of the programmes remain blocked”.

Nicolas Schmit, the commissioner for jobs and social rights, said that after thorough assessment and exchanges with the Hungarian authorities, the Commission had considered the four milestones relating to the independence of the judiciary to be fulfilled.

“As a result, certain parts of the CPR funds were indeed unblocked,” he said. “This means that until 2030, the Commission may reimburse up to 10.2 billion [euros] to Hungary from the cohesion policy funds, maritime and fishery funds and home affairs funds.”

Johannes Hahn, the budget commissioner, said that if Hungary implemented the changes, an agreement could be reached.

He said the purpose of the conditionality regulation was “not to punish member states … but to ensure the sound protection of the financial interests of the Union”.

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