Orbán presses EC for 'immediate' access to EU funds

EU

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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has asked the European Commission to give Hungary access to European Union funding it is due to manage the refugee crisis and protect the EU's eastern frontier in a letter to EC President Ursula von der Leyen, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Orbán noted in the letter, dated March 18, that Hungary has received more than 450,000 people fleeing from the war, so far, and is providing humanitarian assistance to refugees arriving in the country as well as to people in need in Transcarpathia, Ukraine's westernmost region.

He added that Hungary has also strengthened the protection of its eastern borders, the EU's frontier.

"We are doing all of this in the name of humanity and for the peace and security of the European Union as a whole," he said.

"In crisis situations, the preservation of the unity of the European Union and the shared responsibility connecting the member states are particularly important. To this end, Hungary only asks for immediate and effective access to EU funds allocated to it, and to be able to use them in a flexible way for the purposes best suited to dealing with the crisis," Orbán wrote in the letter posted online by the government's international spokesman Zoltán Kovács.

"I ask the Commission to approve, as a matter of urgency, the Recovery and Resilience Plans, Partnership Agreements and operational programmes of the Member States protecting the eastern borders of the European Union. I ask the Commission to allow rapid, targeted and flexible use of EU budgetary resources by removing pre-financing, co-financing and transferability limits," he added.

Orbán noted that 30% of the financial support available under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) until the end of 2026 shall be reallocated by June 30, 2022, in light of current economic growth indicators. He said that reallocation would entail a loss of resources for all member states protecting the EU's eastern borders, and could amount to up to 16% of available grants for some member states.

"This is unacceptable. I call for a review of the reallocation system and to ensure that those Member States that are bearing the brunt of the war crisis and at the same time making a significant contribution to the economic growth of the European Union do not lose EU resources," Orbán said.

"In addition to the development needs outlined in its Recovery and Resilience Plan, and independently of its approval process, Hungary requests the immediate provision of the allocated loan facility under the Recovery and Resilience Facility for defense, border control, as well as humanitarian and other acute crisis management tasks," he added.

"In the current circumstances, these are the most important areas for improvement in terms of strengthening our resilience. The European Union can only provide real and substantial help if it offers immediate and flexible funding for these purposes," he wrote in closing.

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