Lázár: Norway upset that they can't overthrow us
János Lázár, the minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, was quoted in Hungarian weekly Demokrata yesterday as saying that “Norway is disappointed for not being able to overthrow the current Hungarian government”, referring to the long-lasting disagreement between Norway and Hungary over Norwegian grants to NGOs.
“There have been many examples of the losers complaining to the international media. Earlier they turned to Berlin or Brussels, nowadays Washington and America have become fashionable. It is a pity that international media handles their views as facts, instead of asking us about the issues” the minister said, commenting on Hungary’s negative reflection in the international media.
The conflict between Hungary and Norway began earlier this year, when Lázár charged that some NGOs being supported by the Norway funds are misusing the money and spending it on anti-government activities. After Norway rejected that claim, some of the NGO offices were raided by investigators, sparking an outcry from the Norwegians.
Norway does not recognize the Hungarian Government Control Office’s (KEHI) report on Hungarian NGO Ökotárs Alapítvány, Norwegian ambassador Tove Skarstein revealed in an interview with commercial news channel ATV on November 5.
The Norwegian government appointed an independent British audit firm to carry out the due diligence after KEHI suspected fraud and malpractice, among other charges, at Ökotárs.
Norway has already suspended distribution of major grants to Hungary and in the event that Ökotárs cannot continue working with the Norway grants as a result of KEHI’s investigation, Hungary may eventually lose €140 million in grant money, the ambassador said.
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