Norway halts Lázár
Months of negotiations had preceded the suspension of billions of Norwegian grants for Hungary. János Lázár’s , Minister of State for the Prime Minister's Office, proposals regarding the funds were turned down by Norway. Unless the two countries can settle, Hungary can lose HUF 28 billion.
Lázár requested the renegotiation of the funding issue in a letter sent to Norway, Origo reported. Origo’s Norwegian source leaked out that Norway represents an opposing standpoint to the Hungarian’s, and is not willing to conform itself with the Hungarian line.
Disagreement between Lázár and Norway started when the Hungarian Government had changed the system of grant distribution for 9 elements of the agreement handled by Hungary. Lázár ‘s request for making changes in the remaining 3 elements handled by Norway was rejected. Reaching agreement is getting more difficult as the parties have different memories about prior negotiations.
Norway was surprised by the Hungarian transformation of the grant distribution system and seems to be unsatisfied with Széchenyi Programiroda (SZPI) being in charge instead of the discontinued National Development Agency (NFÜ). Norway’s main problem is that SZPI took the supervision of distribution over from a centralized government body. Hungarian representatives claim that they asked for Norway’s consent regarding system changes in letter but received no answer.
When the partners met in 2013, the then-existing, NFÜ President Deputy Balázs Simó mentioned that there would be possible changes in the system. Norwegian representative answered that changes should be discussed prior to their realization, negotiation’s transcript revealed.
Hungarian representatives keep echoing that Norway would agree with the changes; however Norwegian representatives seem to be obstinate about keeping to the system as it was. Eventually the two parties should gather for a meeting to reveal their playing cards and get to the bottom of the present issue, if possible, sooner than later.
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