Talks on RRF advance as govt accepts EC recommendations

EU

Talks with the European Commission (EC) on Hungary's Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) funding are "progressing", Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister's Office, said at a weekly press briefing on Thursday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Hungary's government has accepted the EC's recommendations in four areas, Gulyás said. 

It will reduce the ratio of single-bid public procurements under 15% for contracts with a value that does not require them to be listed in the European Union's tender database, as well as for larger value contracts that must be included in the database, he said.

The government will take steps to allow legal recourse regarding decisions by the Prosecutor General in cases involving corruption; it will reduce the use of expedited procedures in legislating to address the EC's recommendation on social consultation; and it will use a "significant" part of EU resources to boost the country's energy independence, he added. 

Elaborating on the last recommendation, Gulyás said blocks currently offline at the Matra power plant will be restarted, while three gas-fueled power plants with a capacity of 500 MW will be built over a period of 2-3 years, domestic gas production will be raised from around 1.5 bln cubic meters a year to "at least" 2 bln, and the extension of the lifespan of existing blocks at the Paks nuclear power plant will be initiated.

Gulyás said an agreement on the RRF could be reached with the EC in the fall.

Fielding questions on the recent weakening of the forint, Gulyás pointed to the impact on exchange rates of the country's high rate of net energy imports compared to other EU member states as well as its relatively high state debt ratio.

"There's no need for haste, because the most important thing is that the foundations of the Hungarian economy - employment, industrial output, growth - are all stable," he said.

He added that the government is doing everything in its power on the fiscal front to ensure the deficit target remains achievable.

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