Tibor Navracsics – Photo: Facebook

Navracsics: Budapest, agglomeration ‘can’t progress without each other’

Budapest and the region outside the capital cannot progress without each other, Tibor Navracsics, the minister of public administration and regional development, told a conference on Tuesday.

At the event focusing on urban development over the first 20 years of Hungary’s EU membership, Navracsics argued that because part of Budapest’s agglomeration had “practically become embedded into the capital”, it had become crucial to boost cooperation between them.

Though Hungary had closed the gap with the rest of the EU, he said, regional inequalities had grown over the last 20 years. Budapest is the leading region in terms of GDP per capita, followed by the Central and Western Transdanubia regions, while Northern Hungary, Southern Transdanubia and the Northern and Southern Great Plain regions are around 50 percent of the EU’s GDP, he told the conference organised by his ministry, the Hungarian Economic Association and the alliance of local governments (MOSZ).

Navracsics said the economic slowdown seen in many western European countries threatened competitiveness, adding that development policy should also be aimed at enhancing competitiveness.

Gergely Karacsony, the mayor of Budapest, said the city was always “accused of being overdeveloped”, arguing, however, that it had to compete with Bratislava, Vienna and Warsaw.

He called for intensifying cooperation between Budapest and its agglomeration, citing the agreement on the reciprocal use of city and nationwide public transport passes as a positive example. “The system is cheaper and more transparent, and this is what we need more of,” he said. Karacsony said the development of a common public service system with the agglomeration was a fundamental interest for Budapest.

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