The Hungarian government has been complaining once again that Norway is withholding its majority share of the financial aid the European Economic Area (EEA) countries dole out to Hungary as part of the EEA’a trade agreement with the EU. Norway wants to make sure its financial contribution is delivered to and controlled by civilian organizations, and not Hungary’s increasingly authoritative government regime.
News bureau NTB reported recently that the Hungarian government wants to lay claim to the money. “This money belongs to Hungary, it’s not voluntary on the part of Norway,” a government spokesman told NTB. He claimed the money represents Norway’s entry ticket to EU markets.
Around EUR 214 million is due to be sent to Hungary between 2014 and 2021, the current period of the EEA’s agreement with the EU. Norway govenrment officials won’t release any funding, though, until they’re sure it will go into a fund that’s independent of Hungarian aurthorities. “We stand by our position,” Audun Halvorsen, a state secretary in Norway’s foreign ministry, told NTB.
Norway has already come to terms with 13 of the other EU countries that receive its financial aid. Norway, citing democratic principles, froze all support to Hungary in 2014 when its government tried to squeeze out an organization that has managed the money on behalf of civilian beneficiaries.