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Environmental protection in Hungary will continue to “slide downhill” next year, opposition LMP lawmaker Erzsébet Schmuck said on Wednesday, after parliament’s sustainable development committee voted down opposition proposals connected to next year’s budget aimed at increasing environmental spending.

Schmuck said that the environmental sector would get 100 billion forints (EUR 309m) less in 2020 than this year if parliament passed the government’s budget bill unchanged.

The MP noted that the government had eliminated an independent environment ministry in 2010, and “has made continual efforts to weaken environmental authorities ever since to ensure enough greenfield for multinational development projects”.

Schmuck criticised the budget draft for allocating a mere 90 million forints for a scheme aimed at reducing air pollution while ensuring a subsidy of 800 million forints to the state-owned tobacco distribution company. She also slammed the draft for ploughing 63 billion forints into the Budapest-Belgrade railway project, insisting the scheme exclusively served Chinese interests.

Govt-Opposition Debate on Climate Goals

Schmuck called on the government to set up a climate cabinet to coordinate between the ministries and come up with a climate bill.

Featured photo by Zoltán Balogh/MTI