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Hungarians Will Pay for Motorway Concession, Opposition Párbeszéd Says

MTI-Hungary Today 2021.06.27.

If the government’s plan to make Hungary’s motorways a concession materialises, Párbeszéd believes vignettes will become dearer and road conditions will worsen, a member of the opposition party’s leadership said at a press conference streamed on Facebook on Saturday.

Dávid Dorosz said the government wants to “slyly sell out” the country’s motorway system for a period of 35 years, which can “have only a negative effect on 99 percent of Hungarians, based on international and Hungarian examples”, while “the Fidesz one-percenters get richer on the deal”.

Orbán Gov't to Place Hungary's Motorway Network in Private Hands for 35 Years
Orbán Gov't to Place Hungary's Motorway Network in Private Hands for 35 Years

The new plan of the government comes without any forewarning, as Hungary’s motorways were built as public investments in the past decade, and maintained using public funds and financed mainly through tolls.Continue reading

Bence Tordai, the deputy head of Párbeszéd’s parliamentary group, said a request for information in the public interest had been submitted to determine who will be the recipient of the “hand over” of the motorway network.

He said it was “frivolous” allowing a one-month deadline for a project of such a scale, adding that the concession winner “is already evident”, while Magyar Közút, which is in charge of motorway upkeep at present “is expected to be a consortium member”.

Tordai said the 35-year concession would raise state debt by 4-5 percentage points, “while Fidesz oligarchs get richer”.

In a statement issued in response to Párbeszéd’s remarks, the Government Information Centre said Ferenc Gyurcsány, Hungary’s former [Socialist] prime minister, had granted a 75-year concession to foreigners for Budapest’s international airport as well as a concession, to be paid in foreign currency, for the M6 motorway, which caused the Hungarian state “enormous losses”.

“Today, Ferenc Gyurcsány’s allies are protesting because the new concession tender is not in foreign currency, but in forints, thus Hungarians can bid, too. If they could, they would continue where they left off: handing over the country to foreign multinationals,” the centre said.

featured image: Tordai (left) and Dorosz at the press conference, held in front of Viktor Orbán’s office; via Párbeszéd’s Facebook page