Norway “Blackmailing” Hungary Over Funding, Mulling Legal Steps

  • 10 Nov 2014 8:00 AM
Norway “Blackmailing” Hungary Over Funding, Mulling Legal Steps
A statement last week by Norway’s ambassador to Hungary suggesting that the transfer of 36 billion forints (EUR 116m) suspended in May depended on whether civil organisation Ökotárs Foundation would be able to carry on its work was “blackmail”, Nándor Csepreghy, deputy cabinet state secretary for development policy communications, told public television.

“This is certainly blackmail”, he said, adding that Hungary would consider taking legal action. The ambassador Tove Skarstein told commercial broadcaster ATV last week that payment of the suspended amount depended on whether the government acceded to Norway’s demand.

“If the government cannot ... and we cannot come to an agreement then we will not lift the suspension and Hungary will lose 140 million euros.”

Csepreghy noted that the two countries had signed an agreement under which Hungary is entitled to the 36 billion forints in question.

Accordingly, Hungary does not impose customs duty on Norwegian products and services, under the same rules that pertain to the EU market.

“Now the Norwegian government is saying that while we have a disputed matter on an entirely different issue, we will not finance the funds which, according to the contract, are due to Hungary,” he said.


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