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Norwegian Funds. Hungary's position, payment for Poland at risk. “A political problem”

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We have a “political problem” with the next, fourth edition of the Norwegian Funds. It is related to Hungary's attitude, said Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz, Minister of Funds and Regional Policy, on Monday.

At the end of 2023 European Commission and IcelandLiechtenstein i Norway reached an agreement on the fourth edition of the Norwegian Funds and the EEA Financial Mechanism.

Poland is the largest beneficiary of the third edition of the Norwegian and EEA Funds. Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway allocated EUR 809.3 million for our country. Several EU countries benefit from funds from the Norwegian Funds.

– There is a political problem with the Norwegian Funds. (…) We are dealing with Hungary, which (…) want to gain control over funds (Norwegian Funds – ed.) for non-governmental organizations and do not want to agree to this control being in the hands of Norwegians – said the head of MFiPR, Katarzyna Pełczyńska-Nałęcz, during a meeting with the media. She added that the Norwegians, in turn, want to “provide access” to funds to “organizations independent of the government.”

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“We will not allow ourselves to be blackmailed by the Hungarians”

The minister also said that the Hungarians “offered us (Poland – ed.) to sign (…) a letter in which we stand (…) on their side”, in return for which “they will forgive”, thanks to which, among other things, . our country will receive funds from the Norwegian Funds.

She added that agreeing on all elements related to the new edition of the Norwegian Funds requires the consent of all beneficiary countries. She pointed out that the mobilization of funds not only for non-governmental organizations, but all money from these Funds depends on Hungary's attitude.

– Personally, after conversations and recommendations from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our representative office in Brussels, I have decided that we do not support such a letter. This means we will not allow ourselves to be blackmailed by the Hungarians, said Pełczyńska-Nałęcz.

She also said that “there is a higher value (…) than just money” and “we hope that the Hungarians will forgive” and the funds will be released. – Everything is ready on our side and, in fact, everything is ready on all sides – emphasized the minister.

Norwegian Funds and the EEA Financial Mechanism

Non-repayable financial assistance for Poland in the form of two instruments called the EEA Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism (commonly known as the Norwegian Funds), comes from three EFTA (European Free Trade Association) countries that are also members of the EEA (European Economic Area), i.e. .Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The main objective of the EEA Funds and Norway Grants is to reduce economic and social disparities within the EEA and to strengthen bilateral relations between donor countries and the beneficiary country. In return for the financial assistance provided, donor countries benefit from access to the EU internal market, even though they are not members of the Community.

The recipients of support under the Norwegian and EEA Funds may be entities from the public and private sectors and non-governmental organizations, and for each program a detailed catalog of entities that could apply for funding was established.

April 30 this year The deadline for eligibility of expenditure for the vast majority of projects financed from the third edition of the Norwegian and EEA Funds has passed – the Ministry of FiPR announced in mid-June. Adding that the costs incurred by the beneficiaries – i.e. companies, local governments, scientific institutions – until then may be refunded.

“Some beneficiaries use tools that enable flexible and efficient closure of projects. For example, the possibility of refunding advance payments incurred before April 30 this year for services and works completed by the end of 2024.” – it was written.

Main photo source: PAP/Radek Pietruszka



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