Hungary Could Get EU Funding by Year-End, Early 2023 - Gulyás

EU

Gergely Gulyás

Photo: Gergely Botár/kormany.hu

Hungary could get its European Union funding "by the end of the year or early next year" pending an agreement with the European Commission, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister's Office, said at a weekly press briefing on Thursday.

Gulyás acknowledged a decision by the Council of the European Union extending a deadline to adopt a proposal by the EC to suspend part of Hungary's EU funding while remedial measures taken to address concerns over the rule of law are assessed. He added that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had thanked the EU heads of state and government for the extension in a letter on Thursday.

The EC proposed the measure on September 18 and the council had one month to decide - by a qualified majority - on its adoption, with the possibility of an extension for a period of up to two more months.

If an agreement on Hungary's EU funding is reached, Gulyás said teachers could get a pay rise reaching 20.8% in 2023, 25% in 2024, and 29-30% in 2025, bringing their remuneration up to 80% of the average wage for Hungarians with a university degree.

Until EU funding is available to upgrade Hungary's electricity network, changes to Hungary's feed-in tariff system will need to be made, he added, explaining that household demand to install solar panels has outpaced network capacity.

Fielding questions on the weakening of the forint to historic lows against a number of major currencies, Gulyás said the government could address the matter by doing what is in its scope of power: achieving fiscal balance and working to reduce the trade deficit. He pointed to the impact of high energy prices on the trade gap and said the forint would strengthen if there were no sanctions on Russian energy.

Asked for comment on the scale of the forint's slide compared to that of other currencies in the region, Gulyás said Hungary's energy vulnerability is "significantly" greater than those of its neighbors.

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