Budapest, August 15 (MTI) – European Union and public money is being stolen “mafia style”, putting several thousand employees “in an impossible situation”, a Socialists lawmaker told a news conference on Saturday.

Ildiko Borbely Bangone noted that a company named First Hungarian National Environmental Social Cooperative (ESZOSZ) had legally undertook to employ disadvantaged and low-skilled people for five years in the north Alfold region, yet these people, she said, have not received any wages.

She said the company received 1.3 billion forints (EUR 4.2m) in the period of five months. Still, not only was it unable to pay wages, it did not have an office either, she said, adding that the company had cheated 2,800 employees and put their families in an impossible situation, too.

Because these people are officially employed, they are not entitled to job-seeking benefits, so have no source on income, the Socialist politician said.

Borbely Bangone noted that local chapters of the Socialist Party had been approached by people in their thousands and more than 500 have lodged complaints with a labour tribunal.

Three weeks ago, the party turned to Janos Lazar, the government office chief, as well as to the economy minister and minister of human resources over the issue. From their replies it is “abundantly clear that [Prime Minister] Viktor Orban and Janos Lazar are responsible for the situation which has emerged,” she said, calling on them to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.

In response, the cabinet office said it would examine the activities of ESZOSZ. Nandor Csepreghy, deputy state secretary for development policy communications, told a news conference that the company had received funding in order to get 2,800 people into work. He said the company had paid employees over several months.

As soon as reports surfaced there were problems relating to the employment and payment of 900 people, the authorities ordered an investigation to examine whether it was possible to see the project through to a conclusion.

If it transpires that the project cannot be completed, the government will recall all funding that the company has received, he said.

At the same time, Csepreghy rejected the Socialist politician’s comparison with the mafia, saying it was thanks to the project that the people concerned had received a wage over several months.


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