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EC proposes lowering national co-financing threshold for Hungary

The European Commission on Monday said it proposed lowering the proportion of the cost Hungary and five other member states must cover in European Union-supported projects to a minimum of 5% with the aim of launching investments that have not yet started because of a lack of national funding.

The measure "should be accompanied by a prioritisation of projects focusing on growth and employment, such as retraining workers, setting up business clusters or investing in transport infrastructure", the Commission said.

The measure does not represent new or additional funding but it allows an earlier reimbursement of funds already committed under EU cohesion policy, rural development and fisheries, the Commission said.

The measure is targeted at the countries most affected by the financial crisis: in addition to Hungary, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Romania and Latvia.

The Commission will request that the Council and the European Parliament adopt the proposal in a fast-track legislative procedure by the end of 2011. The top-up is an exceptional temporary measure, which ends as soon as the Member States stop receiving support under the financial assistance programmes.