Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held talks on Tuesday with Salgótarján Mayor Zsolt Fekete of the opposition Socialists on a comprehensive HUF 90 billion-plus plan to develop the northern Hungarian city into a regional economic, cultural and sports centre.
Referring to the city’s industrial past in the Socialist era, Viktor Orbán said that “twenty-seven years have passed since the fall of communism, therefore we cannot allow the country to have a county-ranked city which still sees itself as a loser from the political changes”, adding that “it is essential that this former industrial city with great traditions should find its place in the Hungary of the 21st century.” Speaking about political differences, Mr. Orbán said that a path of accord has been sought, in which a socialist mayor and a conservative, national, Christian prime minister have been able to come to an agreement which they can heartily recommend to anyone; the current agreement is just such an agreement. He pointed out that the Mayor had given him a frank account of the tax figures for the local economy, as well as the city’s economic performance indicators and tax revenues
Viktor Orbán stressed the government’s commitment to enabling the city, a traditional industrial centre, to prosper in the 21st century, too. The plans envisage a variety of projects, including a 50-billion four-lane bypass road to the Slovak border, a new oncological centre, a comprehensive renovation of the city centre and various sports facilities such as a new public pool, an athletic centre and an ice rink, Orbán said. In order to develop the local economy and industry, HUF 10 billion will be allocated to develop a total area of 40–45 hectares of the city’s brownfield “rust zones”, with a new industrial park enabling suitable areas to contribute to production. Another industrial park on a 12-hectare greenfield site will be created, with funding of HUF 2.5 billion. Projects needed to enhance the region’s tourist appeal will cost HUF 22 billion, he added.
Hajrá, hajrá, Salgótarján // Let’s do it, Salgótarján!
Posted by Orbán Viktor on Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Speaking to reporters, Mayor of Salgótarján Zsolt Fekete stressed that the agreement means that the development of Salgótarján as a regional cultural, economic and sports centre can finally begin. He described the development of the economy as the top priority, because unemployment in the city stands at nine per cent, which is more than double the national average. The Mayor said that the developments launched as part of the Modern Cities Programme will make Salgótarján a more liveable and lovable city, and the development of northern Hungary and Hungary’s less advanced counties is an interest shared with the Government.
At the press conference, the Prime Minister was also asked about a recent interview published both in Hungarian and in English by news portal Index.hu, in which a former secret services officer suggested a strong Russian influence in Hungary, and said that the advisors to Hungarian politicians should be vetted. In his answer, the Hungarian Premier said it was “no surprise” that “others may want to exert influence on Hungary” due to the country’s strategic geographical location, but insisted that the national security system is working well. “No one can get anywhere near vital decisions without a national security screening,” Orbán said.
via hungarymatters.hu and kormany.hu; featured photo: Szilárd Koszticsák – MTI; video: PM Viktor Orbán’s official Facebook page