Hungary’s opposition parties have slammed a proposal by county and municipal county leaders in Fejer County to establish a special economic zone in the settlements of Iváncsa, Rácalmás, Adony and Kulcs, south of the capital, saying such a move would be disadvantageous to the area’s residents.
Addressing a joint opposition press conference on Tuesday, conservative Jobbik’s Tamás Pintér, the mayor of Dunaújváros, speculated that
ruling Fidesz intended to “rob” the city of its business tax revenues and “give it to the Fidesz-led county assembly”.
Pintér said such a move would deprive each of the economic zone’s residents of one million forints a year.
Gergely Kállo, the Jobbik MP representing the region, said nearby localities would “lose out on the deal just as much as Dunaújváros”, arguing that they would be affected by the negative aspects of the economic zone’s construction, “but they would only get as much of the revenues as Fidesz lets them”.
Democratic Coalition leader Ferenc Gyurcsány said Dunaújváros “is one of those that have been destroyed and robbed” and therefore the opposition “decided to stand in its support”.
He promised “justice for the region” if the opposition wins next year’s general election.
In response to a question,
Gyurcsány said his party will back Jobbik’s Kálló in 2022, arguing that he had the support of the majority of the electorate and was doing a good job as an MP.
Jobbik leader Péter Jakab said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was “cleaning out the attic” because he feared a loss in 2022. “They won’t get away with the stolen wealth,” he said, adding that the new government would “return everything that was taken from the localities”.
Gergely Karácsony, the co-leader of Párbeszéd, said Hungary had a government that was “incapable of serving” and only knew how to “reign”. He said everyone who had chosen “a different path from the one offered by Viktor Orbán” in the 2019 local elections would be compensated in 2022.
LMP co-leader László Lóránt Keresztes expressed his shock at “the damage that will be done to the region”.
He said every other region would eventually “have its turn” if the government was not stopped next year.
Péter Márki-Zay, head of the Everyone’s Hungary Movement, said the establishment of the special economic zone was another step in the “hollowing out” of the local council system.
Momentum co-leader Anna Orosz said Fidesz was “taking Dunaujvaros and the surrounding area under its guardianship the same way as it had done to the city of God”. She said this meant that the city would only see a maximum of 50 percent of the business tax revenues it generates.
Bertalan Tóth, co-leader of the Socialist Party, said Fidesz was “failing” and resorting to theft.
Parliament approved legislation last summer allowing the designation of special economic zones with the aim of expediting big corporate investments and related infrastructure developments.
The law allows local business tax revenue in such zones to be rechannelled from municipal councils to the county level, a measure legislators argued allows a more proportionate allocation of resources among all communities impacted by such investments.
Krisztian Molnár, who heads the Fejér County council, said at a press conference in Ivancsa on Tuesday that a number of big investments in the region justify its designation as a special economic zone.