HUNGARY: Government is set to spend over 51 billion Euro, but forgets to consult with stakeholders

– Press release by Civilisation Coalition, published on 9 February 2021

51,6 billion Euro, 40% of Hungary’s GDP (2019) is at stake. This is the amount Hungary will receive between 2021 and 2027 from the multi-year EU budget and Recovery Fund, and a broad range of stakeholders from civil society must be included in the – currently ongoing – planning phase to set the goals and priorities of allocating these resources.

Members of Civilisation Coalition and signatory civil society organisations find that they are excluded from meaningful participation in the consultation process, hence they address in an open letter dr. Szabolcs Ágostházy, the State Secretary for EU Development Projects, and call upon starting a real consultation about the allocation of resources which decide Hungary’s fate for the coming years. In their letter the civil society organisations show the various ways the responsible ministries fail to fulfill their duties of consultation:

  • The original full-length texts are not uploaded to the website of the consultation. Summaries without exact numbers and details make it hardly possible to submit elaborate proposals.
  • While consultation of the Operative Programs, the key framework documents guiding the allocations of funds is still open, some drafts of calls for proposals are already out.
  • Stakeholders are often not informed or called for consultation on a very short notice just before public holidays.
  • Standing committees of dialogue between state officials and civil society actors are summoned rarely (once a year or less) and their recommendations pass unnoticed.
  • These practices of the Hungarian state are not in line with the European code of conduct on partnership in the framework of the European Structural and Investment Funds.

 Signatories claim that there is still enough time to solve these problems and ask the State Secretary to publish the full documentation of the Partnership Agreement, the Operative Programs and Hungary’s Recovery Plan as soon as possible, leaving enough time for stakeholders to submit their proposals.

 Signatories believe consultation with a wide range of stakeholders is essential to democratic societies. Proper dialogue ensures that decision-makers take people’s interest into account and that the final outcome serves them. The Hungarian state must commit to the fair allocation of these resources and contribute to a healthy, sustainable, inclusive and just Hungary for the benefit of its people.