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KARÁCSONY: GOVT AIMS TO 'SHACKLE' LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

 

Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony has accused the government of trying to “strip local governments of their agency” to cover up the “failures” of its handling of the economic crisis. Karácsony cited a survey by the Závecz research group, saying that the opposition would win the election if it were held this Sunday. He insisted those findings were at the root of ruling Fidesz “punishing” Budapest and opposition-led cities. Karácsony insisted the government was trying to “manoeuvre with [local governments’] only substantial revenue, the business tax”. Municipalities would “lose their agency” if they were deprived of that income, and that would threaten public services such as waste disposal, public transport and water supplies, he said. Referring to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s announcement that Hungary would veto the European Union’s 2021-2027 budget and its pandemic recovery fund, Karácsony said the government was “working to ruin Budapest for 25 billion forints [EUR 69.7m] while preparing to deprive Hungary of 2,500 billion forints out of a stupid fear for its power”. He called on the government to accept the EU’s rule of law conditions and to involve local governments in using the recovery funding.