The European Commission has finally granted its approval to the partnership agreement with Hungary, Hungarian Minister for Regional Development Tibor Navracsics announced on Thursday.
The green light by the EU executive for the Hungarian Partnership Agreement and Operational Programmes will unlock €22 billion in funding due to Hungary through the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework to help contribute to the country’s rural development, providing vital resources to push through government policy.
In a press release published on Thursday, the Commission funds will allow Hungary to “implement joint EU priorities such as a balanced territorial development and a fair climate and digital transition, whilst supporting an innovative and inclusive social market economy.”
Funds will be used to provide support for the technological development of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs); funding low-carbon energy initiatives; improving Hungary’s performance in research and innovation; upgrading and modernizing the country’s transport infrastructure; supporting access to the country’s labor market for disadvantaged groups; and providing better access to education and improving the quality of teaching.
Navracsics, a former EU commissioner, hailed the news as a victory for Hungary whose government has fought relentlessly this year to unlock the funding previously withheld by the European Commission due to concerns over press freedom and rule of law in the country.
“We achieved our goal, by the end of the year we signed all the agreements with the European Commission, which gives us access to the European funds!” Navracsics tweeted.
In a video posted on his Facebook page, he thanked those who had supported the Hungarian team during “tense” negotiations, and offered a back-handed compliment to those who had criticized the negotiating team’s work, “because that is how we have kept our ambition alive.”
“This will allow us to receive around 130 billion forints in advance, to start tendering and to launch the developments that we can support with EU funds.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me during the intense negotiations over the last six months, the team who prepared the technical material, who negotiated our ideas with the European Commission at all levels, who helped us to make our commitments and deliver on them,” he added.