Missing EU funds covered “for months”

Interview

Hungary can cover the funding suspended by the European Union from the state budget “for months,” an official said on Friday. On Monday, the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff János Lázár announced the European Union had put on hold 13 out of 15 EU-funded, Hungary-based programs after it found alleged irregularities in Hungary's financial control systems, but European Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said on Wednesday no evidence of fraud was seen.

Nándor Csepreghy, deputy state secretary at the Prime Minister's Office in charge of development programs, said in a news portal interview on Friday that the suspended payments totaled around HUF 400 billion. The deputy state secretary said the government expected to reach agreement to regain access to the suspended financing at a meeting with EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn on September 9.  

The government has said it is ready to accept an EU fine of between HUF 50 billion and 100 billion to regain access to the money, vital to the country's economy. The official said the government took over the management of 59 EU-funded projects from local governments because they failed to manage the programs properly. There were severe delays in implementation, he said.

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