Photo: MTI

Navracsics meets Budapest mayor

Tibor Navracsics, the minister for regional development and the uptake of EU funds, on Monday met Gergely Karacsony, the mayor of Budapest, and they agreed on re-estabilshing the regional development forum for Budapest and Pest County.

At a press conference after the meeting, Navracsics said he hoped their dialogue “would bear fruit in the majority of cases”.

“But there will be conflicts from time to time as well, because there will be instances where interests of the capital and the government do not coincide,” Navracsics added.

He said that hopefully the regional development forum for Budapest and the surrounding Pest County would be re-established, following a meeting of Pest County mayors last week at which a related proposal was made.

Navracsics said he and Karacsony reviewed ongoing and planned operative programmes and discussed possible ways to cooperate on their implementation. They also discussed the possibility of jointly implementing future projects that would serve the interests of both the government and the city of Budapest, the minister said.

Karacsony told the press conference that Monday’s meeting signalled the start of a good working relationship.

“The municipality of Budapest has an interest in ensuring that Hungary can access the EU funds it is entitled to and that the debate over the rule of law in Hungary can be settled in a satisfactory manner,” the mayor said.

Karacsony said that Budapest has an interest “in addressing the situation of local governments” in respect of the rule of law. He added that working in partnership with local governments was necessary to utilise EU funds effectively.

He welcomed re-establishing the regional development forum for coordinating development proposals made by the government and the city of Budapest.

“It is also in the interest of the central region and Budapest to expand partnership between the city, the government and the agglomeration. Issues such as transport, the drinking water network and waste removal can only be tackled if settlements in the agglomeration are treated as a single unit,” Karacsony said.

Karacsony said he pledged Budapest’s “strong commitment” to objectives set forth by the European Union and the government. “We agree with the statement made by the prime minister’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, that the EU’s recovery fund should be used in its entirety to ensure Hungary’s energy independence,” he said.

The Budapest municipality’s goal is to achieve full energy independence by 2030, meaning that the city’s public utility works should operate on energy they produce, Karacsony said. “But to ensure this we need the EU funds,” he said.

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