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Payouts of EU, state grants to support business developments triple in 2009

Payouts of European Union and state grants to support business developments in Hungary have more than tripled in the last ten months, while the number of applications for funding that have been approved has doubled, department head at the National Development Agency Magdolna Kocsis said at a conference organized by the Joint Venture Association (JVSz) on Tuesday, business daily Világgazdaság reported on Wednesday.

Payouts from the Economic Development Operative Program (GOP), the framework for business development grants from EU funding and state co-financing, came to HUF 59 billion in January-October, up from HUF 16 billion a year earlier, the paper said, citing data compiled by the Unified Monitoring Information System. The money was paid out on 3,954 contracts, up from 1,029 a year earlier.

Kocsis said different incentives offered applicants as well as an easing of conditions in the first half of 2009 were healthy and useful.

Gábor Ormosy, the director of the Hungarian Economic Development Center (MAG), suggested banks may also have contributed to the increase in payouts and applications. “There are already signs that bank financing structures are beginning to recover, though they will never reach the level before the crisis,” he said. “A new balance is beginning to take shape,” he added.

About 90% of EU funding available to Hungary has not yet reached the economy, Zsombor Essősy, head of the Hungarian Application Preparation Office, told the conference. Organizations that assist businesses with the application process can speed up payouts of this money, and if the staff at the National Development Agency needs to be doubled, then so be it, he added.

Hungary's government asked the European Commission last December to allow the country to regroup funding among its various operative programs. The Commission approved the request in August and an additional HUF 111 billion was reallocated to the Economic Development Operative Program. (MTI-Econews)