• • • Socialists call on Fidesz MEPs ‘to fight’ to boost EU farming subsidies
The opposition Socialists have called on ruling Fidesz MEPs “to fight” to increase the level of EU subsidies for Hungarian farmers. Speaking at a press conference, a board member of the party Gábor Harangozó said that Socialists are committed to farming subsidies, adding that they called on the government to support a common budget with a minimum payment of 100,000 forints (EUR 310) per hectare and 30 percent co-financing so that “more money gets to the Hungarian countryside and villages”.
Harangozó noted that although Hungary is one of the recipients of the highest level of EU subsidies, the government only provides 15 percent co-financing, the lowest rate in Europe which compares with a rate of 30 percent or higher in all other EU members in the region. Hungary’s rural development programmes are slow to get off the ground, he said, noting “massive delays” in central funding allocations.
Also, he said it was unclear why no funds had been allocated for irrigation this year, the driest of the past 20 years. Had the government delivered investments promised in three election campaigns, up to ten times as much land could have been brought under irrigation, Harangozo said. He proposed building reservoirs to take advantage of Hungary’s vast water resources.