Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony is pressing for urgent talks with the government in the interest of accessing European Union funding to manage issues concerning the economy, energy supplies and climate, with special focus on the capital.
On Saturday, Karácsony wrote on Facebook that he had sent a letter to Tibor Navracsics, the minister in charge of regional development and utilization of EU funds, in which he expressed Budapest’s willingness to co-operate with the central government.
He welcomed Navracsics’s remarks earlier in the week on the government’s readiness to strike a compromise with the European Commission.
Last week, the minister without portfolio expressed his hope that the government can reach an agreement on the EU coronavirus recovery funds by the end of the year, as Hungary remains the only EU member which has not received the green light from Brussels on its national plan.
“That’s great news, as Hungary has a chance to be the last one in the EU to finally access EU funding!”, he said.
“In this situation it would be urgent and important for Budapest and the government to act together,” he added.
Karácsony had also proposed that Navracsics should take advantage of the network and lobbying power of Budapest in talks with the EC.
He said Navracsics had already responded to his letter and wrote that a meeting could take place with the mayor “in the second half of July.”
“Until then, Budapest will continue its work with its European partners,” he added.
Karácsony visited Brussels last Thursday, where he held talks with, among others, Commission Vice President Vera Jourova, Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders and Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for budget and administration. On his Facebook page, the mayor said he had met with the members of the Commission to discuss EU funds potentially available for Budapest.
Featured image: Karácsony (in the middle) in the Budapest Assembly. On his right is deputy mayor Ambrus Kiss; by Zoltán Balogh/MTI