Budapest (MTI) – The fine Hungary is expected to receive from the European Commission for irregularities uncovered by Europe’s anti-fraud office OLAF in connection with Budapest’s fourth metro construction project could be lower than originally projected, Budapest’s mayor said on Friday.
The 76.6 billion forints (EUR 250m) initially projected by the government is “an extreme”, and is unlikely to be the actual fine, István Tarlós told a press conference. The fine will likely end up being “more like 59 billion”, he added.
The government has the full support of the capital and is prepared to assist in “any legal action aimed at reducing the sum that will have to be paid back”, Tarlós said. The EC has yet to issue a decision on the matter, Tarlós said.
Budapest public transport company BKV and DBR Metro Project have a case to get the EC to lower the fine, Tarlós said. Hungary “cannot miss out on this opportunity” and should challenge the fine regardless of how big it is, he added.
Commenting on an ongoing initiative to hold a local referendum in connection with Budapest’s bid to host the Olympic Games in 2024, Tarlós urged those “who love the city” not to support the initiative to drop the bid, arguing that the capital would benefit from staging the event.