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Socialists Appeal to EC over Mátra Power Plant State Purchase

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.07.29.

The opposition Socialist Party (MSZP) on Wednesday said it is turning to the European Commission over the recent purchase by the Hungarian state of a majority stake in the Mátrai Erőmű power plant, previously part of holdings controlled by billionaire business magnet Lőrinc Mészáros, PM Viktor Orbán’s friend, citing alleged violation of EU competition rules.

The party’s deputy leader, László Szakács, told a press conference on Facebook that the purchase of Hungary’s second biggest electricity generator by state-owned energy company MVM had been “a cloak and dagger deal”.

He said the Orbán government claimed the deal had cost 17,5 billion forints (EUR 50.43m). Documents released to the party upon its request, however, showed a total of 75 billion forints spent on the deal, he added.

In addition to the purchase price, a 5 billion forint shareholder loan was made to Mészáros, while there was also a 26 billion forint capital increase and repayments of loans also worth 26 billion forints, the Socialist politician said.

He added that the government had justified the handout to “loss-making businesses” owned by Mészáros on the grounds of saving jobs, protecting the climate and ensuring energy security.

The Socialist Party is turning to the EC over alleged state aid granted to a loss-making company, prohibited under EU law, Szakács said.

Featured photo by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI