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200,000 Fills Out ‘Secret’ Gov’t Climate Protection Questionnaire

Ábrahám Vass 2019.11.27.

In total, more than 200,000 people have filled out a survey on climate protection, although the government apparently aimed to keep it quiet and not advertise it. The impressive number is due to a blog that discovered it four days before it was to expire.

It was liberal 444.hu, who, on Friday, first called attention to the actual existence of the questionnaire on the National Strategy for Clean Development that was available online for less than a week. The strategy, the submission of which to the EC is due at the end of the year, is aimed to outline the government’s intentions on how it plans to achieve the Paris climate agreement’s goals.

While the Hungarian government contested national consultations (for example, about migration and the alleged Soros plan), this time it didn’t put effort into the advertisement of the questionnaire. According to government-critical Index, Germany spent some Eur 2.5 million on a similar consultation campaign.

Gov’t: Brussels wanted it, ask them

After the “secret” consultation made headlines, the Ministry for Innovation and Technology (ITM) issued a statement on Sunday stating: “in regard to climate protection, the government has not launched any national consultation, we have only fulfilled a requirement from Brussels. We, therefore, ask the opposition parties to turn to Brussels, as it was them who prescribed its framework and the deadlines. If the government aims to conduct a national consultation on climate protection, it will do so in the usual way.”

Government spokesman István Hollik went even further, on Inforádió claiming that the consultation’s goal “is not to get to know the people’s opinion, but it’s just an obligation imposed by Brussels that the government needs to fulfill.”

Then, in the end, the Ministry for Innovation and Technology released a different statement emphasizing its delight over the huge number of people who filled out the questionnaire. The Ministry added that “Hungary’s government will again make a decision by taking into consideration the people’s will, just like it always has.” 

DK to turn to the EC

According to left-liberal Párbeszéd’s statement, “before Hungary would be shamed in Europe for its climate strategy, Párbeszéd will launch a genuine consultation on the matter, which will then be the data that will be transmitted to the government and the European Commission. We will force the government to take immediate action against the climate emergency.”

In addition, leftist Democratic Coalition vowed to turn to the EC. DK’s spokesman Balázs Barkóczi criticized the government for having only “given one week for the Hungarian people to comment on the strategy.” He added that this time the government didn’t feel like it should put out billboards and advertisements, as they did “with the Soros plan that only exists in their minds.” He recalled that DK had asked for the deadline to be extended, but the government had eventually swept it off the table.

featured image: illustration; an artword titled “Hungary’s National Blue Trail” made for the 19th ARC Exhibition that dealt with climate change