PM’s office: Budapest leaders joined recovery plan talks last minute

The Recovery and Resilience Plan takes the entire country’s interests as well as EU rules into account, Szabolcs Ágostházy, the state secretary for EU developments, said in an open letter to Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony, on Tuesday.  [EPA-EFE/Borislav Troshev]

Budapest’s leadership only attempted to join social consultations on the government’s recovery plan at the last minute, according to an official of the prime minister’s office, Daily News Hungary reported.

The Recovery and Resilience Plan takes the entire country’s interests as well as EU rules into account, Szabolcs Ágostházy, the state secretary for EU developments, said in an open letter to Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony, on Tuesday.

Responding to a critical letter from the mayor, Ágostházy said Budapest leaders had only made an attempt to involve themselves in the social consultation process mere weeks before the plan was submitted, notwithstanding several prior government invitations to do so.

The state secretary accused the mayor and his staff of putting forward expensive and uncosted proposals for the capital whose lack of professional substantiation “made it hugely difficult even to consider the merits of the proposals.”

According to Ágostházy, Budapest was the country’s most highly developed city and its level of development was far higher than the EU average. The local government is also the county’s richest in the country and that it had demanded that it receive almost one-third of the recovery plan’s resources without caring for the needs of other parts of the country.

In response, Karácsony said on Facebook that the capital’s leadership had indeed handed over its plans to the government and had hoped to come to an agreement on the substance of the recovery plan.

“We’ve made the Budapest municipality’s proposals public so the government can’t lie about them anymore,” he said, adding that “once again private interests have trumped the public interest.” According to him, the government had let down individuals and businesses brought down by the pandemic and had prioritised “Russian and Chinese economic interests over European values”.

Responding to the government’s charge that the municipality had sent material concerning how it intended to spend the funds from the EU recovery fund approximately the length of a text message, he referred to documents made public containing the capital’s plans, which he said had been handed over to the government. (Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)

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