Hungary to pre-finance RRF programs - Orbán

EU

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Hungary will pre-finance its Recovery and Resilience Fund (RRF) programs from the national budget until the money arrives from Brussels, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a weekly interview on public radio on Friday.

Orbán acknowledged plans by the European Commission to extend the deadline for evaluating Hungary's RRF plan by two months, but told Kossuth Rádió that "the whole point of the recovery is that it should be fast".

"We don't have two months to wait for the recovery, so those programs that we want to implement with that EU funding will be launched even if we don't have the EU money yet. The government has taken a decision on that," Orbán said.

"We will announce all of those programs and tenders necessary for the economic recovery even if Brussels doesn't give us the money. We'll finance it from the budget, and the amount we're entitled to from Brussels will arrive later," he added.

Hungary's justice minister has blamed the delay in approval for the country's RRF plan on "strong pressure" by EU institutions "to admit LGBTQ activists to Hungarian schools and kindergartens".

Last week, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that "condemns in the strongest possible terms" recently approved Hungarian legislation on the protection of children that codifies the right of parents to take charge of their children's sexual education.

The EP said in the resolution, approved with a vote of 459 in favor, 147 against, and 58 abstentions, that the legislation "will restrict severely and intentionally the rights and freedoms of LGBTIQ persons, as well as children's rights", adding that the law "constitutes a clear breach of the EU's values, principles and law".

"The Law is not an isolated example, but rather constitutes another intentional and premeditated example of the gradual dismantling of fundamental rights in Hungary," according to the resolution.

The European Commission launched an infringement procedure against Hungary over the legislation on Thursday, arguing that provisions in the law "violate human dignity, freedom of expression and information, the right to respect of private life as well as the right to non-discrimination".

Commenting on the text of the EC's "letter of formal notice" launching the infringement procedure, Orbán claimed that "we are up against legal hooliganism". 

"Both family rights and education are exclusively within the scope of national power. Brussels has nothing to do with it," he argued.

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