Hungary backs farmers’ protests, calls on EU to ‘return to normality’

Hungarian Agriculture Minister István Nagy. (Facebook)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

While many European leaders are looking at the farmers’ protests that have swept the European continent with growing unease or even outright hostility, the Hungarian government has actively embraced them. The government is now calling on the EU to reform and change course on the issue of agriculture.

“In Hungary, a strategic alliance has been established between the government and farmers, so we are doing our utmost to force Brussels to change course, which means returning to the principle of normality,” said Agricultural Minister István Nagy while stopping in Hajdú-Bihar County during a nationwide agricultural tour, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday.

Farmers are now feeling their markets being invaded by uncontrolled Ukrainian agricultural products, which are not required to meet EU production standards. The minister added that never before in the European Union has agriculture been so overloaded with green ideology.

According to the statement, Nagy said that in Hungary producers can count on the Hungarian government in all circumstances, which decided to increase the national co-financing rate to 80 percent in the most difficult times. This year, the HUF 2.9 trillion (€7.36 billion) of rural development funds will start to be used for the benefit of the Hungarian countryside, agriculture and food production, of which the government will add a further HUF 2.3 trillion to HUF 6 trillion of EU funding by 2027, the minister said.

He also said that the Hungarian State Treasury had already paid out a total of HUF 419 billion in advance and partial payments to more than 152,000 farmers in connection with this year’s single applications by mid-February. He said that the liquidity support schemes should not be forgotten either.

In view of the financing needs of agriculture, the Agricultural Széchenyi Card MAX+, with a total annual interest burden of 5 percent, supported by high state subsidies, has been introduced, and loan contracts can be concluded until June 29. However, then there is the voluntary interest rate cap, which stipulates that from Jan. 1, the interest rate on new loan contracts for new business loans cannot be higher than 9.9 percent. In addition, the interest rate freeze has been extended until April 1.

Nagy stressed that the Hungarian government is doing its utmost to maintain these subsidies, as farmers need every forint in these difficult times. This is why, as in the past, farmers can count on the Hungarian government, he said.

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