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Frontpage News 2014 Norwegian authorities issue a press release on problems concerning Hungarian authorities and the EEA & Norway Grants

Anders Erdahl
Deputy Director General Anders Erdal from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs answered questions from the press after the meeting with Hungary.

Norwegian authorities issue a press release on problems concerning Hungarian authorities and the EEA & Norway Grants

 Following is an English translation of the press release.

Norway and Hungary have still not reached an agreement on lifting of the suspension of the EEA and Norway Grants to the country.

A high-level meeting held yesterday, 12 June 2014, between representatives from the three donor countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, and from the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office was constructive, but there is still some way to go before a solution is likely to be found.

Further payments to Hungary under the EEA and Norway Grants were suspended on 9 May 2014. This followed a decision by Hungary to move the implementation and monitoring of the Grants scheme out of centre government administration, in breach of the agreements governing the funding.

Hungarian authorities have also initiated an audit of the EEA Grants-funded NGO programme. Responsibility for the programme and any potential audits lies however with the donor states – Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. This is clearly stated in the agreement with the Hungarian government and undermines the independence of civil society from the authorities.

Hungary must meet the requirements stipulated in the agreement, which means that the audit should be halted. At the same time, a solution must be found on the issue of the transfer of the implementation and monitoring of the Grants scheme out of the central government administration.

Norwegian authorities have as a precondition that these outstanding issues must be resolved before the suspension of the EEA and Norway Grants is lifted. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is waiting for a response from Hungarian authorities before deciding if and how further meetings will take place.