EC Adopts Agreement on Hungary Cohesion Funding for 2021-2027

EU

The European Commission on Thursday adopted a Partnership Agreement with Hungary laying the ground for investments from European Union cohesion funds for the period 2021-2027, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

The agreement - the last of the Partnership Agreements with the 27 EU member states adopted by the EC - is worth a total of almost EUR 22 bln.

The EC noted that it earlier adopted a decision under the Conditionality Regulation imposing a suspension of funding from three cohesion programs pending the implementation of remedial measures by Hungary. That suspension may be lifted by the Council, on the recommendation of the EC, without any loss of funding if the situation is fully remedied within two years, it added.

The EC pointed out that Hungary must also comply with enabling conditions for the implementation of cohesion policy and home affairs programs.

It said an enabling condition on the Charter of Fundamental Rights will be considered fulfilled once Hungary has taken measures on the judiciary to which it has committed in its Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) plan.

The EC said that provisions in Hungarian legislation codifying parents' rights over their children's sexual education, as well as "serious risks" to academic freedom and the right to asylum, "have a concrete and direct impact" on compliance with the Charter, but added that it is "open to further dialogue" and "ready to work together closely" with Hungary on the issues.

Hungary's Partnership Agreement foresees EUR 6.7bn of investments to improve energy efficiency and boost renewables; over EUR 250 million in resources from the Just Transition Fund to support economic diversification of SMEs and the transformation of a big coal-fueled power plant; EUR 4.3 bln for technological development of SMEs; EUR 1.5 bln to improve R&D infrastructure; around EUR 670 mln to promote digital transformation and innovation of SMEs; and EUR 1.7 bln for the upgrade of transport infrastructure. The agreement also earmarks EUR 5.3 bln from the European Social Fund Plus for improving access to education and the labor market as well as the integration of disadvantaged groups, while EUR 1.8 bln will be used for financing to "make the teaching profession more attractive".

Regional Development Minister Tibor Navracsics, who has spearheaded negotiations on the EU funding over the past half year, expressed appreciation to the people who supported efforts to advance the talks in a video message posted on Facebook on Thursday. He also acknowledged those who "criticized and judged" that work for "rousing our will to succeed".

"Our goals have been achieved," he said, pointing to the signing of Hungary's RRF plan earlier in the week and the adoption by the EC on Thursday of the Partnership Agreement.

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