Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

EU fund transfers suspended

April 30th, 2014

Népszabadság blames the temporary suspension of cohesion fund payments on the government, which re-organised its EU fund management structures without seeking the prior approval of Brussels . Magyar Nemzet suspects that Hungary is repeatedly singled out by the Austrian commissioner for more than simply technical reasons.In its front page editorial, Népszabadság thinks the government should have known how sensitive Brussels is about the guarantees of fairness in the use of EU funds. It would have been therefore only natural to consult the European Commission before re-structuring the relevant institutional setup. The left-wing daily believes that the changes were introduced in order to entrust State Secretary János Lázár, the man in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office with the supervision of decisions over EU funds. And since practically all publicly financed investment projects depend on EU funds, the risk is enormous. While Hungary is asked not to submit new invoices to the European Union, the payments must be advanced from the budget, which means an additional expenditure of 600 billion Forints before the end of the summer. János Lázár likes swift action, Népszabadság remarks, “but his Indian wrestling with Brussels may prove costly”.

In her Magyar Nemzet editorial, Anna Szabó explains that János Lázár took control over the EU funds into his hands in order to ensure that all projects concerned be implemented before the final deadline, that is Autumn 2015. Szabó acknowledges that it is Brussels’ duty to check if the national fund management structures are in line with the rules, but fears that the final judgement may be negative: otherwise why would Brussels have asked Budapest not to submit new invoices? This is the second time that Mr Johannes Hahn, the Austrian Commissioner for Regional Development singles out Hungary, after inflicting a 70 billion Forint fine because companies applying for EU funds in Hungary were required to have Hungarian speaking engineers on their staff. Szabó also recalls that the European Commission has launched infringement procedures against Hungary over several issues “since April 6th (the date when the elections returned PM Orbán to government). Strangely enough, she remarks, everything seemed to be fine under the previous (left-wing) governments.