I shall be hosting half a dozen opposition mayors and mayoral candidates in Brussels over the next few days to coordinate cooperation and European responsibilities of the coming years and the creation of direct EU funding for local governments.
I have invited the prospective leaders of Székesfehérvár, Szombathely, Salgótarján, Szolnok, Hajdúdorog and Budapest City Centre to the capital of the E.U. Th delegations representing all of the all-opposition mayoral candidates will negotiate with several European Commissioners, including current and future first vice-president, Frans Timmersmans. There is a lot to discuss as the Fidesz government has switched blackmail to the highest gear in the municipal campaign: they realized that due to opposition cooperation, they will lose many important bastions in the fall, so they are now openly threatening with non-Fidesz-led or non Fidesz-majority settlements not being able to count on EU funds in the future. This is not the first time that Fidesz tries to pull off this nasty and illegal trick: at the time of the previous municipal elections, I had to report the issue to the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) for preventive purposes. The concerned responsible EU body then made it clear that “the situation outlined may give rise to doubts as to whether the distribution of EU funds is in full compliance with the relevant European rules in force and with full respect for the principle of transparency.” We will continue to monitor with a magnifying glass whether the illiberal government wishes to represent the interests of its own oligarchs or the residents of settlements when it comes to the use of EU funds.
In order to put an end to Orbán’s mafia network, more cities and towns must be liberated from the ‘orange oppression.’ This is what will happen in the capital, the county seats, and in many Hungarian settlements and villages. The powers that be grind their teeth because they know that opposition cooperation and the joint support of the strongest candidates are a real weapon against them. That is why they are turning up fake-propaganda to the max and blackmail people by all available means. But all is in vain: withholding EU money is not only illegal, but can also be easily circumvented by making European funds for local governments directly accessible. In the next seven-year EU budget, it must be guaranteed that municipalities can apply for resources for developments that are important to them, such as social housing program or local healthcare, without being exposed to the government of the given Member State. With the mayor candidates I shall host, we undertake to make this happen in the interest of the development of every town liberated from orange oppression that will be led by opposition coalition politicians as of the fall.
dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
1 September, 2019