Despite calls from Norway, EU sends funds


European Union officials will not freeze development funds to Hungary, despite calls from Norway to adopt stricter measures towards the country, according to reports. Norway made the call to sanction Hungary after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's controversial late-July speech, in which he announced the end of liberal democracy for Hungary.

Hungary is entitled to funds from the EU, as well as special funds from Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Driven by the PM's speech, and a Hungarian government's decision to crack down on the NGOs that Norway was funding because they are too "liberal", Norway`s EU prime minister, Vidar Helgesen asked EU member states, The United States, Canada and Switzerland to adopt a stronger stance towards Hungary.

Norway recently suspended development funds worth €140 mln to the Hungarian state, after the Hungarian Government changed the system of grant distribution, a change that led to disagreement between Norway and János Lázár, the head of the PM's office in Hungary.

EU officials, however, pointed out that they had already agreed to channel €34.3 bln in funds to Hungary between 2014 and 2020. Before that approval, the EU requested some changes in the way the funds are governed, and Hungary complied with those requests.

Since 2004, when Hungary joined the EU, the state has received €153.3 mln under the EEA and Norway Grants and $142 mln from Switzerland. Norway, despite suspending its development grants, has continued the flow of €4.4 mln Euros program for NGOs.

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