Two Ukrainian-Hungarian cross-border projects under consideration in EU - expert

Two Ukrainian-Hungarian cross-border projects under consideration in EU - expert

In the context of cross-border cooperation, Ukraine and Hungary are interested in projects designed to preserve the Carpathians and develop cross-border infrastructure.

Roman Kyslenko, an expert on the development of local democracy tools, electoral legislation, and local government development, сandidate of Political Science, said this in a commentary to Ukrinform.

"In the context of cross-border cooperation with Hungary, both parties are primarily interested in the development and preservation of the Carpathian region, which is a separate Euroregion that receives EU funding, as well as the development of transport infrastructure," the expert said.

He noted that Hungary has recently begun to increase its gas and oil exports to Ukraine, and this affects the capacity of Ukraine’s infrastructure. In addition, Ukraine is attempting to export agricultural products to the European Union. Despite the imposition of restrictions on certain types of products by Hungary, Ukraine is interested in Hungary as a transit zone, given the challenges caused by the large-scale war.

In this context, Kyslenko said that two Ukrainian-Hungarian projects designed to develop and increase the transport capacity of the Chop-Záhony and Batyevo- Eperjeske railway logistics hubs, as well as the reconstruction of the Luzhanka-Beregsurány road checkpoint have been submitted to the governing body of the Connecting Europe Facility.

The expert noted that the specifics of cross-border cooperation between Ukraine and Hungary are determined by certain interstate relations and focus on one region with a large Hungarian minority population.

"As to the implementation of projects within the four countries with funds from Ukraine, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary, bilateral cooperation is the most active, and more projects are implemented by Ukraine and Slovakia than by Ukraine and Hungary or all four countries. Therefore, there is actually some potential here," Kyslenko said.

He said that in the period from 2007 to 2023, 92 cross-border cooperation projects were implemented at the cost of EU funds that finance Ukraine, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary. Only 22 of them were implemented by all four countries, and the largest number of projects were implemented bilaterally by Slovakia and Ukraine.

“Therefore, there is actually some potential for cooperation with Hungary. Of course, the foreign policy courses of states partially determine cross-border cooperation, but it is the implementation of projects within the framework of cross-border cooperation that makes it possible to obtain funding to solve common problems on both sides of the border," the expert said.

As reported, at the end of November 2023, the Verkhovna Rada ratified the Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union on participation in the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which operates within the framework of the Solidarity Lanes initiative. As a participating country, Ukraine can now also apply for European Commission grants (up to 50% of project costs). Particular emphasis will be placed on the implementation of infrastructure projects already approved by the European Commission to modernize rail and road border crossings with Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia.

The total amount of the grant for the modernization of all checkpoints is more than €82 million.

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