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Hungary is among the member states to have used European Union funding the most effectively, Regional Development Minister Tibor Navracsics said on Thursday. Speaking at the closing event of two comprehensive regional development programmes, TOP and VEKOP, Navracsics said that the two schemes supported 13,000 projects aimed at closing the gap between developed and laggard regions of the country. Navracsics thanked the European Commission for the timely disbursement of the funds, and saying it had contributed to “Hungary becoming more liveable and competitive”.
He called on representatives of the EC to “move on from their political fears and decide on funding based on their professional stance rather than the European Parliament’s political statements.” Agnes Monfret, head of the European Commission’s unit for programme implementation in Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovenia, noted that TOP and VEKOP projects had created or revamped some creches offering 10,000 places and 50,000 places in kindergartens. The programmes also contributed to building 3,700 hectares of industrial parks in less-developed localities, to upgrading 3.3 million square meters of public spaces, to building 500km of bike roads and to revamping 2,000 GP’s offices. Almost 65,000 people participated in training for the labour market, and 99 local groups received help in implementing their development strategy, she noted. Hungary’s cohesion funds in the 2021-2027 financial cycle come to 22 billion euros, or 12% of the country’s GDP, she said. “I count on my Hungarian colleagues to work together with us … and to communicate our joint achievements as partners.” TOP used 4 billion euros of EU co-financing in disadvantaged regions of the country, and VEKOP received 582 million euros to develop projects in central Hungary.