Hungarian NGOs and service providers are in a unique position with regard to EU funds. Currently, they cannot access European Union funds at all due to the situation related to the procedure of Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and its consequences.
As part of the rule of law framework, Article 7 of the TEU aims to prevent threats to the rule of law by mobilizing mechanisms that may lead to sanctions against a member state that threatens the values of the European Union. If the European Commission initiates the procedure according to Article 7 EU, a dialogue between the member state and the EU institutions will begin.
If a solution cannot be found, the Commission imposes far-reaching sanctions based on the procedure according to Article 7 of the EU Treaty, for example the suspension of certain rights arising from the Treaties for the Member State concerned, including the voting rights of its representatives in the Council of the EU.
The situation regarding the accessibility of European Union funds is briefly summarized below.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Union adopted the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), which aims to support EU member states in the economic recovery process.
Due to the ongoing Article 7 proceedings against Hungary, the European Commission has defined 27 milestones, without which no funds can be obtained within the framework of the Recovery and Resilience Facility and no payments can be made to the Commission in connection therewith.
It is important for civil service providers to understand that Hungary’s fulfillment of the 27 super milestones is a condition for access to European Union funds. After fulfilling this, the country can access European Union funds. Therefore, it is worthwhile and important for service-providing NGOs to monitor the process of completing the 27 super milestones related to the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
The procedure according to Article 7 of the TEU is ongoing, but at the same time, Hungary and the European Commission have agreed on the Partnership Agreement, which is the basic document for the EU programming period of the 2021-2027 cohesion policy funds.
This document is a detailed summary of how the Member State will use the funds. However, Hungary cannot access EU funds until it fulfills the eligibility conditions of the Partnership Agreement.
In December 2022, the Commission adopted the Partnership Agreement with Hungary, which contains a detailed roadmap on how to improve Hungary’s administrative capacity and address challenges such as transparency and competition in public procurement, prevention, detection and remediation of corruption, fraud and conflict of interest, and capacity building of the beneficiaries and partners of grants related to European Union funds.
The Partnership Agreement and the enabling conditions are closely related to the Recovery and Resilience Facility and the rule of law conditions set out in Article 7.
Supporting the labor market, quality education and disadvantaged groups.
“The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) supports access to the labor market and quality education with 5.3 billion euros, as well as the integration of disadvantaged groups, including the Roma. The development of the skills needed to prosper in the green and digital transition deserves special attention.
Support for access to education will play a prominent role – nearly 1.8 billion euros will help ensure better access to quality education throughout the country by providing essential funding to make the teaching profession more attractive.
ESF+ also contributes to the reduction of material and social deprivation and provides better opportunities for disadvantaged children from an early age through lifelong learning programmes.
The “Focus on the child” program, for example, provides the smallest children with the support they need for healthy development in the first 1,000 days. Finally, the funds improve the housing, living and health conditions of people living in segregated areas.
According to the Partnership Agreement with Hungary, a total of 6.7 billion euros will be spent on improving the energy efficiency of public and private buildings and increasing energy production from renewable energy sources within the framework of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The program also supports the circular economy, water and wastewater management, and sustainable transport. It helps to improve air quality and protect ecosystems and biodiversity. ”*
|1. A smarter Europe||4 339 140 438,00||–|
|2. Greener Europe||4 571 970 853,00||–|
|3. A Better Connected Europe||664 859 005,00||–|
|4. Social Europe||911 016 702,00||5 100 285 369,00|
|5. A Europe closer to citizens||2 624 481 473,00||–|
|Total amount in more developed regions:||365 218,00||90 394 084,00|
|Total amount in less developed regions:||13 203 008 392,00||5 208 271 219,00|
|Name of Operational Program:||Distribution between funds:|
|GINOP Plus||ERDF, ESF+|
|EFOP Plus||ERDF, ESF+|
|IKOP Plus||ERDF, KA (KA=Cohesion Fund)|
|KEHOP Plus||ERDF, THE|
|DIMOP Plus||ERDF, ESF+|
|TOP Plus||ERDF, ESF+|
Social goals fall under four different operational programs in the Partnership Agreement, but all four operational programs are connected to each other within the framework of the priority of social goals (PO4).
HROP Plus (Human Resources Operational Program plus)
TOP More (Territory and Urban Development Operative Program plus)
GINOP Plusz (Economic Development and Innovation Operative Program Plusz)
DIMOP Plus, (Digital Renewal Operative Program Plus)
Summarizing the operational programs mentioned above, human development is targeted in the following OPs: GINOP Plusz, EFOP Plusz, DIMOP Plusz, TOPPlusz.
Within the framework of human development, vocational training, higher education, public education, public service, health, social, catch-up, and family and youth developments are implemented.
“With regard to service development, EFOP Plusz supports human development with a national impact, the goal of which is to provide and develop these services on the basis of uniform standards at the national level, which in many cases can be realized through priority projects of national scope.
On the other hand, TOP Plusz supports the development of local services (e.g. basic health and social care, strengthening of local communities, etc.). The development of human infrastructure (nursery; public education, including kindergartens; basic health care and municipal outpatient specialist care; basic municipal social care) is basically supported by TOP Plusz.
Within the framework of GINOP Plusz, the content development of vocational training and higher education, the operation of continuing education and incentive systems, and the increase of equal access to education and training are supported. In the field of public education, programs supporting the training and further education of teachers are implemented in the EFOP Plusz. And DIMOP Plusz supports the digital development of training and education services, as well as the development of citizens’ digital skills.
The developments of DIMOP Plusz, TOP Plusz, GINOP Plusz and EFOP Plusz therefore together and complementing each other ensure the sectoral goals of public education, vocational training, higher education, public services, social care, social integration, family and youth affairs and healthcare implementation.”*
“The management of territorial challenges is one of the priority tasks of the Partnership Agreement, which includes, on the one hand, the reduction of territorial inequalities and the utilization of development opportunities related to the territories.
As we indicated in the description of the territorial situation, seven of the eight Hungarian NUTS-2 regions belong to the category of less developed regions. Based on 2019 data, the four least developed Hungarian regions have a GDP per capita (measured at purchasing power parity) below or around 50% of the EU average:
|Region name||It has a GDP per capita (measured at purchasing power parity) below or around 50% of the EU average||Percentage distribution of allocated funds||What percentage of the population does it make up?|
|Northern Great Plain:||47%||65 %||48%|
|Southern Great Plains||53%|
The population of the four regions makes up 48% of the country’s population, so with this resource allocation significantly exceeding the population ratio, positive discrimination is realized to a degree that can ensure that these regions catch up and that their level of development approaches the EU average. The overarching goal of all operational programs is to contribute to developments in less developed regions as well.”*
“Measures aimed at persons with disabilities must fully comply with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the relevant general comments, guidelines, final findings and investigation reports of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, taking into account the rights of persons with disabilities to the provisions of the 2021-2030 EU strategy.
The measures actively promote independent living, for example by strengthening community-based services, responding to individual needs and deficiencies identified based on infrastructure and services mapping and needs assessment.
No measures will be implemented in long-term residential institutions.”*
The central page that manages tenders:
The Article 7 process, the Recovery and Resilience Tool and the achievement of the 27 super milestones