Lázár: More Than HUF 9 Tr Paid Out In EU Monies In Hungary

  • 11 Dec 2015 8:00 AM
Lázár: More Than HUF 9 Tr Paid Out In EU Monies In Hungary
More than 9,000 billion forints (EUR 28.4bn) of European Union funding has been paid out in Hungary, government office chief János Lázár said about the 2007-2013 EU budget period. Tenders have already been invited for the 2014-2020 EU budget period amounting to 3 billion forints, he told a weekly government press briefing.

The government is involved in disputes with the European Commission in connection with several projects totalling 600 billion forints. Citing a case involving blocked road construction projects, Lázár said Hungary was ready to go to court and road construction companies may in the end be held liable.

Commenting on halted construction of the M4 motorway, he said the competition office will have to clarify whether the suspicion of cartel can be proven.

He confirmed that an agreement has been reached in connection with the Norway Fund NGO case.

The programme will be relaunched despite earlier disputes. A total of 37- 40 billion forints will be available from the Norway Fund and the accounting period will be extended.

The question of who should be in charge of distributing the funds in the 2014- 2020 period is still under dispute and the Hungarian government insists on being in charge, Lázár said.

He added that there was no reason to apologise in connection with the Norway Fund because the Ökotárs Foundation was indeed unsuitable to manage the distribution of funds and had abused the trust of the Norwegians. Ökotárs should not be involved in the distribution of funding in the future, he said.

Lázár also commented on Altus, the company of opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) leader Ferenc Gyurcsány, which recently won a new European Commission contract.

“The European Commission is making DK some 120 million forints richer” probably because Gyurcsány, a former prime minister, is a “great advocate of mass settlement and immigration.”

Hungary will consult with the Polish government about this issue because this time Altus has been commissioned to assess Poland’s development policy, he said.

In response to a question about US Ambassador Colleen Bell’s remark that US companies should not compete with the relatives of decision-makers in Hungary, he said Hungary’s new law on public procurements is the strictest in Europe when it comes to conflict of interest.

The ambassador’s criticism is unfair and undeserved, he added.

“We will not offer positive discrimination to large US firms and they will not be subject to negative discrimination, either,” he said. “We do not offer advantages to anyone. We are not Americans. If somebody supports a party here, it will not entitle them to become ambassador,” he added.

Responding to questions concerning the planned statue in the city of Székesfehérvár of Horthy-era minister Bálint Hóman, Lázár said Hungary is a democracy and freedom of opinion applies in the country, and one manifestation of this is the local assembly’s decision to erect a statue.

He said the prime minister had received many inquiries from several civil organisations and private individuals and the cabinet will weigh these up and respond to these questions. He added that to his knowledge the statue was ready.

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