Budapest mayor: Government looking to privatise waste management, mobile payment system

The government has submitted two legislative proposals to parliament aiming to turn the state-run waste management holding and the national mobile payment systems into concessions, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony said on Wednesday.

The revamp would “upend the municipality’s plans”, Karacsony said in a Facebook post, adding that local authorities could fulfil the tasks “well and cheaply”. “Selling the whole thing because the slapdash state-run companies couldn’t cope” would harm citizens’ interests, he said.

Karacsony insisted that the state-run waste management company had “pocketed Budapest citizens’ payments … and the Budapest municipality had to eat the loss.” Waste management should be in the hands of the local authority, he said.

Budapest will fight to “protect the revenues of [city sanitation company] FKF”, and to prevent waste management fees from rising, Karacsony said.

Regarding the national mobile payment system, currently run by state-owned Nemzeti Mobilfizetesi, Karacsony noted that the relevant legislation violates the EU’s service directive, according to a ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Its high prices are against Budapest citizens’ interests, he said.

A concession would thwart Budapest’s plans to develop its own mobile parking system and to “drag the e-ticket system [for public transport] out of the hole”, Karacsony said.

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