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Hungary pays out higher percentage of EU funding for 2004-2006, than most new member states

About half of the EU and state co-financing available under the National Development Plan I, Hungary's framework for disbursing EU development funding in 2004-2006, has been paid out, a higher percentage than any new EU member with the exception of Slovenia, government commissioner in charge of development Gordon Bajnai said on Friday.

Contracts worth Ft 670 billion were signed under the National Development Plan I, Bajnai said. Applications for funding under the New Hungary Development Plan, the framework for disbursing EU funding in 2007-2014, will be accepted starting in January, Bajnai said. Bajnai said Hungary's operative programmers for the funding available during the period placed greater emphasis on programmers affecting ordinary citizens as well as equal opportunity. The new focus was the result of talks with various interest groups, he said. Talks with business organizations revealed that companies need credit and guarantees, not just grants, he added. Submitting applications under the New Hungary Development Plan will require less paperwork and applicants may follow the entire process on the internet. An independent body has been set up to examine complaints about the process, Bajnai said. Another change under the new plan scraps the requirement for financial guarantees for local councils, non-government organizations and churches. (Bloomberg)