Govt Obliged To Oversee Norway Grants Payments, Says State Secy
Budapest, May 29 (MTI) – The Hungarians government is obliged to oversee the disbursements of funds to Hungary under the EEA and Norway Grants scheme, state secretary Nandor Csepreghy said today.
Csepreghy reacted to a Wednesday statement by the Okotars foundation which said that the director of the Brussels-based Financial Mechanism Office, the decision-making authority for the EEA Grants, had told cabinet chief Janos Lazar that Hungarian government bodies had no control rights over NGO programmes within the Norway Grants scheme.
Csepreghy said that considering that all Hungarian citizens are eligible for the grants, it is a public interest to ensure that the funding is utilised in the interest of all citizens. Commenting on an audit by the Kehi government control office, he said “if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.”
The Norwegian Foreign Ministry said on May 9 that it had suspended further disbursements of funds to Hungary. The reason for the decision was that the Hungarian government had “moved the implementation and monitoring of the Grants scheme out of the central government administration. This is in breach of the agreements that have been entered into,” the ministry said.
Csepreghy said at the time that Hungary would like Norway to extend the suspension over the three funds disbursing monies allocated to civil organisations and to renegotiate the entire programme structure of the scheme.
The most important aim in connection with the Norway Grants scheme is to ensure that only state bodies should fulfil tasks connected with the management of funding, he added.
Csepreghy said the Norwegian funding for NGOs is currently transferred through the Okotars Foundation which appears to be an NGO but in reality is a satellite organisation of the small opposition LMP.