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Orbán’s cabinet seeks to have say in choosing fund manager of EEA/Norway Grants

Orbán’s cabinet seeks to have say in choosing fund manager of EEA/Norway Grants

Budapest, May 11 (MTI) – The Hungarian government insists to have an influence on the tender for the EEA/Norway Grants fund manager to ensure that all NGOs benefit with an equal chance, the deputy state secretary for international affairs of the prime minister’s office told daily Magyar Idők on Thursday.

Most of the third round of talks between the EEA/Norway Grants, supporting 15 member states of the European Union, and Hungary’s government, scheduled for mid-May, is expected to go smoothly, Zsigmond Perényi said. The only point of contention is the tender to appoint the fund manager, a process the Hungarian government insists to have a say in. The fund manager is to decide on the distribution of funds later in the process, he said.

The government seeks to reach an agreement on the 2014-2021 financial period, Perényi said, but does not feel compelled to take any offer. If the talks are successful, Hungary is to receive 214.6 million euros in the period, with 107.5 million euros coming from Norway Grants and 108.9 million euros from the EEA, a fund managed by non-EU members Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, Perényi said.

Suspending the grants “would be difficult” for the countries concerned as they pay them in exchange for serious economic benefits within the EU, he said.

Reacting to recent remarks of the Norwegian prime minister on Hungarian and Polish steps, Perényi said that the prime minister was likely to have been misinformed: the Hungarian government has no intention to influence the distribution of the funds themselves, but regards them as public funds and so insists on cooperation in appointing their manager.

Source: MTI/Magyar Idők

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