Opposition LMP on Monday accused the government of intending to use a draft amendment to Hungary’s energy laws to “blackmail” local councils into handing over public water works to the state free of charge. LMP group leader László Lóránt Keresztes told an online press conference that public water works should be operated by local communities, while the state should contribute an annual 200-300 billion forints (EUR 572m-858m) to their development and upgrade. Handing over their operation to the state would mean the neglect of much needed maintenance work on them, he insisted.
Keresztes said Hungary’s water networks were already neglected as it is, requiring some 1,500-3,000 billion forints’ worth of upgrades. Malfunctions have doubled since 2011 and around 80% of the pipes in the system are in need of upgrading, which has led to 30% of the country’s drinking water going to waste, he said. He noted that the prime minister had promised adequate funding for the development of the country’s water networks, adding, however, that neither the budget for this year nor next allocated enough funds for the necessary upgrades.