Modern Cities – Eger And Zalaegerszeg Join Development Programme
Following Sopron’s example the towns of Eger and Zalaegerszeg have become the latest municipalities, which joined the governments’s “Modern Cities” development programme. An agreement signed by PM Viktor Orbán and Mayor of Zalaegerszeg Zoltán Balaicz includes provision for a swimming pool, road and rail construction. The government will also support the city with hospital development and the establishment of a pilgrimage site related to Cardinal József Mindszenty. Last weekend PM Viktor Orbán signed a similar agreement with Mayor of Eger László Habis as well. That deal includes provision for a four-lane express road to connect Eger to the M3 motorway by 2018. The Prime Minister emphasised in both events that the key to the development of rural Hungary lies in Hungary’s provincial towns and cities. “Without strong provincial towns and cities, there will be no strong villages, and we must therefore create provincial centres of influence”, he insisted.
At a press conference held in Zalaegerszeg on Tuesday, Viktor Orbán said that without successful cooperation between the government and the local government of the town, the Zala County seat “could not independently become a dynamically developing, modern, 21st-century city”. According to the agreement, by 2018 Zalaegerszeg will be linked to the existing motorway network by a four-lane highway, funding of HUF 1 billion will go towards the expansion of business incubators and, depending on investors’ demands, an industrial rail link may be built to the city’s northern industrial park. Viktor Orbán announced that also provided for in the document signed by him and the mayor are plans for construction of an indoor swimming pool and recreational centre, as well as the establishment of a pilgrimage site in honour of Cardinal Mindszenty.
As for the joint press conference held in Eger last Friday, the Prime Minister said that besides the construction of the new express road the agreement also includes the HUF 6.3 billion conversion of Eger’s swimming pool into a national swimming and water polo complex. Furthermore, in addition to reconstruction works already under way, the HUF 6 billion development of Eger Castle will continue. Viktor Orbán told the press that the agreement further states that the Hungarian rail operator MÁV will hand over an area of nine hectares to the Municipality of Eger for construction of an industrial park which may, in combination with the Municipality’s own property, occupy a total area of twenty hectares. Mayor László Habis said that Eger is a symbol of heroism, courage and patriotism. He reiterated that a decision by Parliament had designated Eger Castle a national memorial site last December. The Mayor also stressed that the Government had assumed the town’s HUF 8 billion debt portfolio, thereby allowing local people to make ever more ambitious plans.