At the current exchange rate, the European Commission provides the Hungarian government with an amount of roughly HUF 520 billion for protection against the coronavirus.
However, Fidesz is still trying to deny this – socialist MEP István Ujhelyi said at an extraordinary online press conference on his social media platform. The MSZP politician also presented a letter sent to ministers Miklós Kásler and László Palkovics in early March by EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform Elisa Ferreira and EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit.
Ujhelyi said that this letter was meant to inform the Orbán government that, as part of the first rescue package, the pre-financing from the European Structural and Investment Funds, which would be EUR 861 million for Hungary, would not need to be repaid. Moreover, the Commission had decided that this amount will be complemented by a pre-financing frame for 2020 of an additional EUR 607 million. Thus, added up, about HUF 520 billion of EU funds are already available to the Orbán Cabinet. “The Hungarian government was notified about this 10 days ago, so the ministers either did not inform the head of the government or Orbán’s team is deliberately lying and have a different plan altogether for the money,” Ujhelyi said.
The MEP added that the European Union had already taken a number of immediate steps to protect against the coronavirus and help the Member States. For example, such is the EUR 37 billion package decided and approved by the European Parliament just yesterday, which will provide Hungary with a budget of approximately two thousand billion forints; of which the above mentioned sum of 520 billion is also a part of.
Ujhelyi pointed out that the EU has opened up the necessary funds to enable Member States to procure healthcare equipment and support businesses in crisis, but thanks to a decision made by the European Parliament yesterday, some resources can be drawn from the EU Solidarity Fund, though previously this could only be done in times of natural disasters.
The European politician of MSZP stressed that, although the Member States are locking themselves down in the current situation, the European Union is active and the institutions are making every effort to provide the Member States with resources. “It is a deliberate communication strategy to blame the European Union for the public anger that is expected to result from the decline of healthcare, even though the organization of healthcare is the exclusive the responsibility of the Member States.
I call on Viktor Orbán and the government not to deny our European allies and European solidarity by bowing to the Turkish Council in a deceiving fashion, but to help the common work. It will be difficult for me to fight for resources for the interests of Hungarian employees and the protection of Hungarian society if in the meantime the Hungarian government will treat Brussels as a scapegoat, rather than a partner,” said István Ujhelyi.