Hungary is above EU average in drawdown of grants in Brussels

 The withdrawal of EU grants is making good progress: grants worth HUF 2,488 billion were paid to awarded local applicants by 31 December last year, and more than HUF 900 billion of this sum had already been reimbursed by Brussels by the end of the year, Eszter Vitályos, Minister of State for EU Developments at the Prime Minister’s Office told the Hungarian news agency MTI on Tuesday.

She stressed that EU calls for proposals are subject to post-financing, the Member States first make the funds awarded to developments available from their own budgets, but Hungary is above the EU average in the drawdown of grants in Brussels. 

The Minister of State highlighted that by easing the regulations relating to the advancing of grants the Government sought to ensure that businesses and beneficiaries in the public sector should have access to as substantial advance payments as possible, thereby guaranteeing the financing and completion of projects. 

The Government was aware that the changing of the regulations would involve a delay in the receipt of EU grants because Brussels only transfers grants parallel with the progress of developments, in some instances years later. However, the stable Hungarian economy allows the domestic budget to finance the required sum despite the substantial time difference, and state finances do not suffer any disadvantage on account of payments related to EU calls for proposals, Ms Vitályos highlighted. 

She told MTI that, in line with its development policy objective, the Government published all calls for proposals for the EU fiscal period between 2014-2020 by 31 March 2017. In all operational programmes, with the exception of fisheries, some 85 per cent of the entire allocation has already been awarded to successful applicants. The Government planned to make payments worth between HUF 2,064 and 2,700 billion by the end of last year, and with actual payments amounting to HUF 2,488 billion this goal was also met, highlighted Ms Vitályos who described the progress of grant payments as “a success story”. 

She also stressed that Hungary sends quarterly expenditure statements to Brussels, there is ongoing settlement, and EU funds can be drawn continuously, parallel with the progress and actual completion of projects. 

The Minister of State expressed hope that the entire EU grant allocation may be received soon after 2020, but in her words this also puts a great deal of pressure on awarded applicants. Ms Vitályos said the greatest challenge of this year is to ensure that projects are fully completed as soon as possible.

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