A public hearing in Debrecen was disturbed by the booing and yelling of the residents of the Eastern Hungarian city. Representatives of the Chinese CATL battery manufacturer and the mayor of Debrecen attended the event to present a 7.4bn EUR investment to the locals.
According to index.hu, the new CATL plant would be inaugurated in 2025. László Papp, the city’s mayor (Fidesz-KDNP), said the development would not threaten the locals but create a large number of new workplaces. However, many disagree that the investment will be beneficial for Hungary’s second-biggest city. A big crowd started to boo at the public hearing the moment a CATL representative began his speech, index.hu said.
The opposition LMP party has accused the government of turning Hungary into a battery-manufacturing powerhouse at the expense of the country’s environment and natural resources. The water and natural resources of the eastern city of Debrecen must not be allowed to be compromised for the sake of Chinese investors, László Lóránt Keresztes, Chairman of Parliament’s Sustainable Development Committee, told an online press briefing on Tuesday.
The green party MP noted that battery plants guzzle up water and energy, and require big infrastructure developments funded by the taxpayer. Quoting László Palkovics, the former Minister of Technology, the Debrecen plant was “anything but environmentally friendly”.
Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) said the people of Debrecen “want no part of the Chinese battery plant”. Speaking about a recent disaster management forum in connection with the CATL plant being built in the city, Zoltán Varga, DK’s local MP, told a press conference that Debrecen residents did not want a plant in the city that would be a danger to their environment, their health and the future of their children and grandchildren.
Varga insisted that it had become clear at Monday’s forum that by supporting the investment, ruling Fidesz’s “local troops betrayed and failed Debrecen”.