A high-level meeting held yesterday, 12 June 2014, was constructive, but there is still some way to go before a solution is likely to be found.
Further payments to Hungary under the EEA and Norway Grants were suspended on 9 May 2014 following a Hungarian breach of the agreements concerning implementation and monitoring of the Grants schemes.
Hungarian authorities have initiated an audit of the EEA Grants-funded NGO programme strengthening civil society in Hungary. Responsibility for the programme and any potential audits lies however with the donor states. This is clearly stated in the agreement with the Hungarian government and their actions undermines the independence of civil society from the authorities.
Hungary must meet the requirements stipulated in the agreements, which means that the audit must be halted. At the same time, a solution must be found on the issue of the transfer of the implementation and monitoring of the Grants scheme out of the central government administration.
Norwegian authorities have as a precondition that these outstanding issues must be resolved before the suspension of the EEA and Norway Grants is lifted. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is waiting for a response from Hungarian authorities before deciding if and how further meetings will take place.