Hungary’s budget deficit, excluding local councils, came to 2,261.3 billion forints at the end of August, widened by pandemic defence spending, economic stimulus and pre-financing for European Union-funded projects, the finance ministry said in a preliminary release. The ministry said spending on pandemic defence, such as acquisitions of personal protective equipment and ventilators, came to more than 553 billion forints by the end of August. It said that payouts for EU-funded projects exceeded 1,374 billion forints by the end of August, while transfers from Brussels came to 772.4 billion, with 283 billion transferred in August alone. The government has been pre-financing EU-funded projects for years to avoid backups and ensure all available monies are used up. The central budget ran a 1,873.1 billion forint deficit; separate state funds were 2.3 billion in the red, while the shortfall in social insurance funds was 385.9 billion.