Budapest, April 27 (MTI) – The Budapest general assembly on Wednesday voted to cut funding for the internationally celebrated Budapest Festival Orchestra from last year’s 260 million forints (EUR 840,000) to 60 million forints.
Budapest Deputy Mayor Alexandra Szalay-Bobrovniczky said in the debate on the orchestra’s funding that it receives a significant amount of state support alongside the money it gets from the capital.
The assembly could review the orchestra’s funding in the summer when it amends the Budapest budget.
Budapest Mayor István Tarlós said the capital “greatly appreciates” the orchestra’s work, adding that it was hard enough for the city council to find a way to grant the 60 million forints that was ultimately agreed.
On Tuesday, the Budapest Festival Orchestra issued a statement expressing their shock over the planned cut. They said they had held no discussions on the matter with the city’s leadership and indicated that the cut would result in a cancellation of concerts. They said that they had recently agreed with the human resources ministry on an extension to the orchestra’s 1.15 million forint government support and said it was unacceptable that the capital would cut its funding without the two sides having held any talks about the matter.
Earlier on Wednesday the opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) party submitted an amendment proposal to the assembly aimed at preventing the cut in the orchestra’s funding.
Erzsébet Gy. Németh, the party’s Budapest representative, told a press conference before the assembly’s meeting that the 200 million forint cut was unacceptable. “Budapest is spending a lot of money on less important tasks,” she added.