The government wants to spend less money on renovating Budapest’s very own Chain Bridge, which has been in questionable state for years, than what they aim to spend on a 3-day-festival in August. People are outraged, demanding that they use the money for something more useful.
24.hu reports that
the Hungarian government plans to spend 6.5 billion Forints (18.7 million Euros) on celebrating the 20th of August (firework costs not included) while offering 6 billion Forints (17.2 million Euros) for the renovation of Budapest’s most iconic symbol; the Chain Bridge.
20 August is the National Holiday of The Foundation of The Hungarian State. In honour of the holiday, the government wants to organise not only a 3-day festival in the heart of Budapest but Europe’s biggest lights- and fireworks show ever. The government sees this festival as a sort of “restart” for Hungary after the coronavirus.
Many people are outraged by the government’s stance of frivolously spending millions of Euros on a huge party when that money could be used for more important causes. One of these causes could be the renovation of the Chain Bridge, which has been postponed for years due to the lack of funding.
We reported in January 2020 that inspections warranted the introduction of severe weight restrictions on the Chain Bridge, which has not been renovated since 1986. The Budapest General Assembly decided in 2002 that the bridge’s bearing load must be brought up to appropriate safety standards. Practically nothing happened since then due to the lack of resources. Budapest city council has about 17.3 billion Forints (49.7 million Euros) allocated to this project, and they repeatedly told the government that the 18 million Euros they initially offered would not be enough. The government and the city council have been meeting and discussing the issue for months.
Many from the opposition believe that these 18.7 million Euros should be spent on protection measures against the coronavirus and helping those families that lost their jobs due to the epidemic. Others simply want the government to rethink their decision, use the money for something more useful, and find another way to celebrate the national holiday.