Hungary targets deal on EU development funds by autumn - minister

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National Bank of Hungary deputy governor Marton Nagy speaks during an interview in Budapest, Hungary, April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Gergel Szakacs

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BUDAPEST, June 30 (Reuters) - Hungary expects to sign an agreement with the European Union by the autumn over 22 billion euros ($23 billion) of development funds under the bloc's 2021-2027 budget, the country's economic development minister Marton Nagy said on Thursday.

Agreement over the funds has been delayed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's many battles with the EU, such as over migration, human rights and his stance on Russia, but he is under growing pressure to strike a deal, with the Hungarian currency hitting new lows and inflation surging. read more

"We need to reel in EU funds and we must come to an agreement with the EU," Nagy told a university forum.

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He added, however, that progress in talks on money from the EU's pandemic recovery fund - a separate pot - was still proving difficult.

The European Commission said on Wednesday it had "no updates" on granting Hungary access to 15.5 billion euros in COVID-19 economic stimulus funds. The EU executive also said it was analysing Budapest's response to concerns it had raised over Hungary's public procurement system.

Nagy added Orban's government would aim to preserve full employment, which would be "very hard" over the next year and a half amid an economic slowdown and could entail further fiscal costs.

($1 = 0.9546 euros)

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Reporting by Gergely Szakacs Editing by Gareth Jones and Mark Potter

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