Budapest U-turns, asks for loan from Recovery Fund

The country previously requested €7.2 billion in grants and said it would forgo claiming €9.6 billion in repayable support. Still, its recovery plan, a key document for the disbursal of the cash, has been under examination by the Commission since May last year. [Shutterstock/create jobs 51]

Hungary has asked the European Commission for billions in cheap loans to help manage the fall out of the Ukraine war, Telex reported via 444.hu on Tuesday.

The news was later confirmed by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s press chief, Bertalan Havasi to national news agency MTI.

The country previously requested €7.2 billion in grants and said it would forgo claiming €9.6 billion in repayable support. Still, its recovery plan, a key document for the disbursal of the cash, has been under examination by the Commission since May last year.

Budapest says Brussels is withholding the greenlight over its controversial law that all but bans LGBTIQ content in public, but the Commission has denied this, instead highlighting the need for more effective anti-graft measures.

The government is now ready to set up a new anti-corruption body modelled on a similar agency in Estonia, which would report annually on its work to the prosecutor general, who would inform MPs at an annual parliamentary hearing.

Havasi said that with war raging on Hungary’s borders, which has seen nearly half a million Ukrainian refugees arrive in Hungary in recent weeks, its economic impact and sanctions are a heavy burden on the economy.

“The exceptional circumstances require exceptional measures,” the MTI quotes Viktor Orbán’s letter to von der Leyen as saying.

“In this spirit, Hungary is asking only for the earliest possible and effective access to the EU funds earmarked for it, and for the flexible use of these funds for the purposes best suited to the crisis”, Orbán reportedly wrote.

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