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LMP launches petition against new battery plants in Hungary

Opposition LMP has launched a nationwide petition to "make sure that battery plants cannot be constructed without the consent of the people," party co-leader Erzsebet Schmuck said on Monday.

LMP has already launched a national referendum drive, currently pending approval of the National Election Committee, Schmuck told a press conference at Budapest’s Nyugati Square, one of the sites where the party is collecting signatures.

The government “has been long hatching plans” to turn Hungary into a “bridge” between western car manufacturers and eastern battery producers, she said. By 2020, Hungary was second in the European Union in battery production, and all production phases save raw material production are present in the country today, she said.

Schmuck insisted that eastern foreign battery producers were drawn to the country by the “dismantled environmental protection system” and the market advantages of having plants in an EU member state. Hungarian workforce is cheap, and “it looks like there is always enough farmland available”, she said. The 200 hectare industrial park in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, the site of a planned plant of Chinese manufacturer CATL, was built on high quality farmland, she added.

Mate Kanasz-Nagy, LMP’s deputy group leader, said the party has initiated a meeting of parliament’s sustainable development committee. He said he hoped that Energy Minister Csaba Lantos and Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, would attend the meeting on Tuesday.

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