The distribution of Hungary’s lifeblood – political alliances and access to EU funds
Hungary’s economy is heavily reliant on funds from the European Union, the incoming money is crucial in financing new developments throughout the country. Atlatszo.hu took a detailed look at whether the political profile of a town has any impact on the ability to access funds. Here are our findings presented through 12 graphs.
Access to the all-important funds coming from the European Union often makes the difference to whether a town is able to carry out important investments like developing local infrastructure or preserving jobs. Atlatszo.hu took a detailed look at the role local political affiliations play in who is able to get money. We present our findings in the following infographics.
The first graph shows that during the last two government cycles under the current Fidesz cabinet, around two-thirds of the population lived in towns controlled by Fidesz, and one-third under independent mayors. Left-wing mayors are practically nonexistent.
The next graph highlights the fact that independent mayors are mostly in control of small and less wealthy towns.
Yet another graph shows that the 3 to 4 million Hungarians living in localities under independent political control receive half the level of EU support when compared with those living in government-controlled areas.
There are certain exceptions. For instance one of the very few cities where left wing politics has dominated since 2002 is southern Hungary’s Szeged. This a big city, and is also the venue for several major investments, including the construction of a major motorway link. Unsurprisingly, Szeged remains the opposition-led city with the most funding by a big margin.
The biggest issue is for the smaller towns. From 2015, their share in funds dropped even further, and currently they manage to secure less than a quarter of the funding that goes to Fidesz-led towns.
Compared to the left-wing, Viktor Orban’s Fidesz government has approved significantly higher volumes for-energy-related investments, mainly upgrades to residential heating. Naturally, Fidesz-led localities have a far better chance of getting the support.
In terms of municipalities, the picture is clear. Almost only those local governments can secure funding if their leaders were politically aligned with those in the national government, and there is no difference between the right and left wing in this respect.
In terms of social subsidies, the situation is hopeless unless the mayor is politically on side with the governing party.
Based on the trend started in 2015, social subsidies will disappear in the future regardless of the mayor’s political affiliation.
Independent mayors also have far better options to secure funding for job-creation and preservation purposes. This is all the more concerning since as we mentioned, these are typically smaller, poor townships that have a greater need for money.
In contrast, the final graph conveys some good news. It seems towns of all political colors can successfully apply for tourism-related funding, and there are far more such tender openings, even though the funds awarded are typically lower.