EU transfers funds to Hungary after Orbán’s letter

European Council President Charles Michel, right, speaks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the end of a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, March 25, 2022. After a first day of talks dedicated to the war in Ukraine, EU leaders turned their focus to energy policy as they try to agree on measures aimed at curbing skyrocketing electricity prices at a summit in Brussels. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

The European Commission disbursed €2.17 billion in loans to three EU member states, including €147 million (approximately 55.8 billion forints) to Hungary under the EU Program for Reducing Increased Unemployment due to the Coronavirus Outbreak; the EU has thus transferred the full amount of the loan to Hungary, the Brussels body said on Tuesday.

The amount disbursed on Tuesday is the eighth tranche of financial assistance from the Emergency Unemployment Risk Reduction (SURE) facility, with Hungary receiving €147 million, Poland €1.5 billion and Portugal €523 million. The money is now expected to also help Hungary deal with the ongoing Ukrainian refugee crisis.

The European Commission has thus disbursed the loan amount approved for Hungary under the program. During the 15-year validity period of the loan support, Hungary will receive a total of €651 million (approximately 190 billion forints) in financial support from EU funds. The EU disbursed €200 million to Hungary in December 2020 and €304 million (approximately 108 billion forints) to Hungary in early February 2021.

On March 22, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán wrote a letter to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, saying that Hungary urgently needs to draw credit from the Recovery and Resilience Facility due to the “unprecedented challenges of the war in Ukraine.”

According to the EU commission, SURE loans, which are long-term loans with favorable terms, will help the three member states to cope with the sharp rise in public spending to ensure job preservation following the coronavirus epidemic. With the loan support, the three member states will be able to cover the costs directly related to the financing of reduced-time national employment schemes and other similar measures taken in response to the pandemic, including for self-employed workers.

In early 2020, the European Union set up a funding instrument called the Emergency Unemployment Risk Reduction, or SURE, to help protect jobs and workers in difficulty due to the coronavirus epidemic across the EU. The aid is intended to help finance certain health-related measures while maintaining jobs and maintaining employment levels.

Under SURE, 19 EU member states receive a total of €94.4 billion in financial support.

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