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'No updates' on unlocking billions for Hungary, says EU Commission

06/29/2022 | 11:30am EDT
FILE PHOTO: Hungarian woman exchanges forints for euros at a currency exchange shop in Esztergom

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The European Union executive had "no updates" on unlocking Hungary's access to 15.5 billion euros ($16.2 billion) in COVID-19 economic stimulus funds, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Budapest said earlier this week it had sent a letter to the Brussels-based Commission addressing concerns that led the latter to freeze its approval of Hungary's spending plan needed to unlock the money.

"In our discussions with the Hungarian authorities... we have made progress on a number of issues over the past months. However, there are a number of points that remain open, including on anti-corruption and education measures," the spokeswoman said.

"Discussions with Hungary continue," she added.

That marked "no updates" since the Commission commented on the matter on June 3, the spokeswoman added. A second Commission spokeswoman said the EU executive had received Hungary's letter and was analysing it.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban - locked in many battles with the EU over migration, human rights and stance on Russia - came under increased pressure to get a deal with Brussels as his currency hit new lows and inflation surges.

On Tuesday, Hungary's central bank raised its base rate by 185 basis points, way above market expectations.. ($1 = 0.9545 euros)

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alex Richardson)

© Reuters 2022
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