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Facing flood of refugees, Hungary asks EU for recovery loan

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Hungary – Last year, Hungary opted to only apply for the grant component of the NextGeneration EU recovery plan while waiving its loan component. Faced today with an influx of Ukrainian refugees, the Hungarian authorities have decided to ask the European Union to grant them this loan. It represents around 9 billion euros out of the 16 billion that Hungary can claim.

Massive influx of Ukrainian refugees throughout Central Europe

The least we can say is that the situation has changed since 24 February. Indeed, according to the UNHCR figures as of 22 March, by that date Hungary had already received 324,397 refugees (2,144,244 in Poland, 555,021 in Romania, 371,104 in Moldova, 256,838 in Slovakia, etc.).

However, just like for other countries confronted with this new situation, the reception of this massive influx of Ukrainian refugees – and everything points to the situation worsening further – represents an unprecedented challenge for Hungary.

Moreover, as we pointed out in a previous article, the figures published by the UNHCR seem to be several days “behind” pertaining to the situation on the ground. Indeed, according to the Hungarian government, more than 450,000 Ukrainian refugees were already in Hungary at the beginning of this week.

Orbán demands “the immediate availability of the credit facility”

This is why Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán addressed the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen to ask an emergency granting of this loan as per the framework of the NextGeneration EU recovery plan:

In addition to the development needs outlined in its recovery and resilience adjustment plan, and independently of the approval process,

Hungary calls for the immediate availability of the credit facility under the recovery mechanism and resilience strengthening for defence, border management, humanitarian aid and other acute crisis management tasks.

In the current context, these are key areas to develop in order to strengthen our resilience. The European Union can provide real and significant help by providing immediate and flexible resources for these purposes. […] Hungary is prepared and functions well in this crisis.

We have welcomed over 450,000 people who have fled war and conflict so far. We provide humanitarian aid to those who come to us and to those in need in Subcarpathia.

We have strengthened the protection of our eastern borders. We do all this in the name of humanity, in the name of peace and security in the European Union. […] In crisis situations, the preservation of the unity of the European Union and the shared responsibility of the Member States are particularly important. To this end,

Hungary asks only to be able to access its allocated European funds as quickly and efficiently as possible, and to use them flexibly for the purposes best suited to tackling the crisis”.