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The opposition Párbeszéd party said it is turning to President János Áder after parliament’s sustainable development committee rejected an opposition bill aimed at protecting Hungary’s natural lakes.

Párbeszéd MP Olivio Kocsis-Cake told a press conference that his party, the Democratic Coalition, Jobbik, LMP and the Socialists are seeking Áder’s help in integrating their proposals on the protection of Hungary’s natural lakes into the country’s legal system.

The opposition bill, recently voted down by the sustainable development committee’s ruling Fidesz majority, was drafted by NGOs operating near Hungary’s lakes, Kocsis-Cake said.

He said the bill would have proposed solutions to environmental problems plaguing the Lake Balaton, Lake Fertő, Lake Öreg and Lake Velence areas.

Meanwhile, the Socialist Party (MSZP) accused the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance of “siding with those destroying the environment” against Hungarian families.

Lawmaker Zita Gurmai told an online press conference that after coming to power in 2010, Fidesz began to “transfer areas around our natural lakes to their buddies and oligarchs”.

“Despite wide-ranging protests, the ruling parties in recent years have forced through a series of construction, land-use, water and waste management regulations favouring the oligarchs,” Gurmai said.

She said the regulations were harmful to the environment, arguing that they allowed for construction projects to be carried out on lakeshores as well as the felling of reeds and trees. “The opposition bill would’ve put an end to this,” she added.

Gurmai said the only way to enforce the public interest was to set up an independent ministry in charge of climate and environmental protection after a change of government in 2022.

Zsolt Molnár, another Socialist MP, told the same press conference that the bill, which was also aimed at protecting public lakeside beaches, would have served to prevent “shady property dealings”.

He said that by voting down the bill, the ruling parties had also “declared war on Hungarian families”, arguing that going to public lakeside beaches free of charge was the only form of vacation many families could afford.

featured image: Párbeszéd MP Olivio Kocsis-Cake in the Parliament; via Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI


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