Govt to move Norway funds supervision to PMO by end-Aug
(MTI) – The government has transferred oversight of Norway Fund programmes from the state-owned Szechenyi Programme Office to the Prime Minister’s Office by Aug 31, a government decree published on Friday said.
Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein decided on May 9 to suspend further disbursement of funds to Hungary. They stated concern that the Hungarian government had assigned the allocation of the funds to the Szechenyi Programme Office from January.
The government decree had been amended in line with talks with the Norwegian side, and will pave the way for further talks, the PMO said in a statement on Friday. The Hungarian government aimed to create legislation which suggests the greatest possible openness for future talks, the office said.
Nandor Csepreghy, deputy state secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), said earlier that following talks with representatives of the Norwegian government on June 12 the Hungarian government has agreed to move the supervision of nine programmes to the PMO. However, there are still unresolved questions regarding the monitoring of programmes funded by the Norway Civil Fund, Csepreghy said at the time.
He said that Hungary accepted Norway’s view as regards the liaising unit, which it has agreed to set up within the Prime Minister’s Office and that disbursement of funds can be re-started in July when officials from the fund pay a visit to Hungary.
The visit from Norwegian officials, however, has stalled, as the Norwegian side insists that Hungary suspend investigations by the Government Control Office (Kehi) into the use of Norway Funds by Hungarian civil organisations, the PMO’s statement said.
In response to complaints by civil groups, Hungary’s basic rights ombudsman issued an opinion on July 23 and called on the governments of Hungary and Norway to discuss the situation.