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CEB and Hungary sign a €152 million loan increase to finance ongoing COVID-19 measures

18 August 2021

PARIS  - The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and Hungary’s Ministry of Finance have signed a €152 million loan agreement to provide medical services to those affected by COVID-19. This additional financing complements a loan approved in 2020 to support the country’s pandemic response, bringing the total amount to €327 million.

Despite a well-advanced vaccination drive funding for additional preventive and diagnostic supplies remains an issue for Hungary, with budgetary spending for COVID-19 measures in 2021 estimated at more than half a billion euros. The additional funding from the CEB will cover eligible budgetary health expenditures and essential measures foreseen under the state of emergency, including medical supplies needed in the continuous fight against the pandemic.

The CEB’s Administrative Council had approved an initial loan request of €175 million to Hungary in April 2020. The entire amount was rapidly and completely disbursed to partially cover COVID-19 related expenditures incurred during the fiscal year 2020.

Through investments carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affaires and Trade as well as the National Health Services Centre the CEB loan partially financed, among others, the purchase of:

  •       6,8 million tests
  •       More than 223 million PPE and face masks for medical staff
  •       84,500 laboratory diagnostic equipment
  •       10,070 vital signs monitors

“This is the second CEB loan provided to strengthen the Hungarian healthcare system and its capacity to protect Hungarians from the COVID-19 pandemic. Now Hungary is prepared for a possible fourth wave of the epidemic,” said the Minister of Finance Mihály Varga.

Signing the loan on behalf of the CEB, Vice-Governor Carlo Monticelli commented: “This additional loan will support the Government of Hungary to further its efforts in addressing urgent needs in the health sector. Providing medical support to those affected by COVID-19 and medical personnel in the first line of defence will protect the country’s population and ultimately save lives.”

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 42 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable, AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook positive and AAA* with Scope Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.
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