In the first step, the Hungarian government will assist economic development in Szekleland with HUF 25 billion (EUR 77.7 million) next year, mainly geared towards large projects, Mónika Kozma, head of the Pro Economica Foundation told at a press conference in Sepsiszentgyörgy/Sfântu Gheorghe.
She said the Hungarian budget will dedicate HUF 50 billion (EUR 155.5 million) next year to aid the economic development of ethnic Hungarian communities across the borders, half of which will go to Szeklerland.
Kozma said that while the program has no ethnic criteria – meaning that people of any nationality can apply for grants – applications will only be accepted in Hungarian. She said in the first step the focus will be on agriculture, manufacturing and food industry, with major projects that can also have an indirect benefit for small suppliers and farmers.
The foundation ran a HUF 1.5 billion (EUR 4.7 million) pilot last year in Maros/Mureș county with mixed results – purchases of farming equipment have been successful, but many also applied for settling land registry issues. Only a fraction of the latter have been completed due to bureaucratic difficulties. As a consequence, grants will not be offered for such in the future.
Last week Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Budapest that the Szeklerland program will be run with “essentially the cooperation of the majority nation” (i.e. Romanians) and every forint invested will result in two forints worth of GDP growth.