EC Disburses Euro 140 Million REPowerEU Funds to Hungary

  • 16 Jan 2024 7:29 AM
  • Hungary Matters
EC Disburses Euro 140 Million REPowerEU Funds to Hungary
The European Commission has transferred 140.1 million euros to Hungary in REPowerEU pre-financing grants under the post-pandemic Resilience and Recovery Facility (RRF).

In a statement, the EC noted that this was the last instalment of the payment after the pre-financing of 779.5 million euros on Dec 28.

It said the funds would kick-start the implementation of key investments and reforms outlined in each chapter of the REPowerEU scheme, including energy conservation, production and diversification goals with a view to weaning Europe off Russian fossil fuels.

The EC said pre-financing payments to member states amounted to 20% of the additional funds requested to finance the country’s REPowerEU chapter.

It added that Monday’s transfer of the pre-financing grants had followed the European Council’s approval of Hungary’s revised RRF plan containing a REPowerEU chapter and a signed financial agreement.

The EC approved Hungary’s 4.6 billion euro REPowerEU chapter of its modified RRF plan in November. The modified RRF plan is worth a total of 10.4 billion euros, including 6.5 billion euros of grants and 3.9 billion euros of RRF loans.

Meanwhile: Local Govts, Regional Govt Offices Must Work More Closely, Says Navracsics

Cooperation between local governments and regional offices of the central government “must be brought even closer”, Tibor Navracsics, the minister of public administration and regional development, said in Miskolc, in northern Hungary.

Navracsics said cooperation of the two branches “must be seamless” when fresh European Union funds released to Hungary “are put in service of regional development policy”.

Cooperation was already “excellent”, he said, adding that Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén was one of Hungary’s most highly performing counties. He noted that students and researchers of foundational universities have been excluded from the Erasmus and Horizon Europe programmes.

Navracsics said he had asked the politically non-aligned mayor of Miskolc, who sits on the supervisory board of the city’s university, to demonstrate to European decision-makers that foundational universities are independent of party politics, adding that the mayor’s own political independence underpinned the point.

Hungary Counts on Austria's Support, Says FM

When it comes to combatting illegal migration and supporting the EU accession bids of Western Balkan countries, Hungary counts on Austria’s support, Péter Szijjártó, the foreign minister, told Hungarian public media in Vienna after talks with Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg.

The talks were part of a series of consultations aimed at preparing the ground for Hungary’s EU presidency in the second half of the year, he said, adding that Austria was among EU countries that took action against illegal migration.

Hungary’s wants European regulations to be in line with international law so that temporary refugee stays are in the first safe country, noting that Hungary allowed people fleeing the war in Ukraine to seek refuge but kept out illegal migrants who had had passed through 3-5 safe countries.

Szijjártó called for a turnaround in Brussels, adding that the EU should not import problems from far away but help to solve them at their root. Africa’s population was growing exponentially, he noted.

Instead of tempting Africans to relocate, the EU should make investments, and nurture development and training locally, he said. Hungary, he added, supported the development of African countries to the tune of several 10 million dollars, providing education scholarships for “many thousands” of African students.

Meanwhile, regarding the EU integration of Western Balkan countries, the minister said the bloc was in need of fresh dynamism, which the region could provide, so the pace of the accession process must be speeded up. This, he added, was one of the goals of Hungary’s EU presidency.

Regarding bilateral matters, Szijjártó said Hungary and Austria was a reliable, predictable and fair partner in terms of energy supply, with than 20 percent of Hungary’s annual gas consumption arriving via Austria.

Both countries see energy supply as a pragmatic rather than an ideological issue, he said. Hungary, he said, supports Austria’s candidacy for membership of the UN Security Council in 2027-28.

The minister said he met the Austrian Freedom Party’s general secretary and the party’s members of the Vienna parliament’s Hungarian-Austrian friendship group. He also met the head of the Austrian Manufacturers Association.

MTI Photo: Tibor Rosta

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