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New Budapest Assembly Votes to Support Anti-corruption Programme

MTI-Hungary Today 2019.11.06.

Budapest’s new municipal assembly on Tuesday unanimously supported the implementation of an anti-graft programme aimed at increasing transparency of the city’s operations.

In his proposal, Mayor Gergely Karácsony noted that in the election campaign he had pledged to implement a “minimum programme” worked out by anti-corruption organisations Átlátszó, K-Monitor and Transparency International Hungary.

Karácsony also noted that the city had already published “more information than required by law” but added that “the municipality should proceed along that path, further increasing the range of information released to the public”.

At its first session, the assembly also suspended preparations to erect a Saint Stephen statue in the park named after Hungary’s first king. The assembly decided to reconsider the planned location in the south of the oblong park, and find another site for the contested monument if necessary.

The assembly announced a climate emergency in Budapest, and said that the Healthy Budapest programme should be developed further.

“Climate change is already affecting our everyday lives significantly. If we fail to take measures, … we will be remiss in our duty towards further generations,” Karácsony said.

The assembly has commissioned the mayor to review where the authority’s institutions stand regarding carbon neutrality and the transition to green energy. The mayor will also review the city’s action plans for extreme weather conditions and develop a climate change adaptation and mitigation plan, the assembly said.

The assembly declared a ban on changes to the northern embankment of the Danube where the previous leadership had planned a levy, seen as controversial due to its alleged environmental impact.

New Mayor Karácsony Outlines ‘Fundamental Values’ for Budapest Leadership

In another development, the assembly banned implementation of the overtime work law at municipal companies. In his proposal, Karácsony said that the law would seriously impact employees who could be made to work a “drastically increased” number of overtime hours.

The assembly passed a decision not to support major construction projects which have been planned but not started yet, such as the new National Gallery, in the City Park (Városliget). According to the decision, the planned building sites should be parkland. The assembly authorised the mayor to negotiate with the government concerning its new measures and requested that Karácsony should prepare a proposal aimed at ensuring protection to the City Park as a historic garden.

featured image via MTI/Zoltán Balogh