EU funds

The forest was cut to the ground during the construction of the EU-funded treetop walkway in Nyírmártonfalva

The mayor of Nyírmártonfalva won a gross 64 million HUF (approximately 166 thousand EUR) EU funding for the project aimed at building an 50-metre-long canopy walkway. Unfortunately, the forest was cut to the ground during the construction of the treetop walkway, which now stands in a desert.

A canopy walkway, also called canopy walk, treetop walk or treetop walkway is normally a pedestrian path at several meters altitude above the ground allowing pedestrian access to the canopy of the forest.

Mihály Filemon, governing-party mayor of the village won the grant as a private person, through the Rural Development Programme. According to the EU grant application register, he submitted the application in 2018 and was selected for the grant in 2021. Mihály Filemon has been mayor of Nyírmártonfalva since 2019. The land on which the EU-funded treetop walk stands also belongs to Filemon.

photo: Átlátszó

„In recent years, I have tried to present locations that show in a visual way the horrendous organised theft that has taken place over the last 10 years with EU money. I believe that we will hardly find a more beautiful location, a more symbolic location” – this is what Ákos Hadházy, an independent Member of Parliament, known for his battle against corruption in Hungary said when he visited the treetop walk together with Atlatszo reporters.

According to the public procurement notice, the project is ready: the deadline for completion was 9 December 2022. The contractor, HCInternational Kft. is a company from Nyíregyháza, a nearby city.

photo: Átlátszó

During the on-site inspection, we found that the quality of the canopy walkway was poor. In addition, the pine installation has not been varnished and is therefore exposed to the weather. The roof of one of the buildings has already been blown off by the wind. The toilets are only finished on the outside.


The construction of the canopy walkways with EU funding is currently quite popular among local Fidesz politicians. In the neighbouring village of Nyíradony, the Fidesz vice-president of the county council, Sándor Tasi, also received a grant of gross 61.5 million HUF for a canopy path. László Tasó, a Fidesz Member of Parliament for the region also had such a walkway built. He has received goss 64 million HUF for the project. At least they left the trees there.

Ákos Hadházy and Átlátszó reporters tried to contact Mihály Filemon, the mayor of Nyírmártonfalva. We visited his guest house, also built with nearly 50 million HUF (123 thousand EUR) of EU money, where we did not see a sign indicating the fact of EU support, although it is obligatory.

photo: Átlátszó

We managed to have a word with a relative of the mayor, who called Filemon, who informed us that we have nothing to do with the EU subsidies he had won and then said goodbye to Hadházy and Átlátszó.

A few days later, the mayor gave an interview to ATV, a Hungarian television where he stated that they submitted the application in late 2017 or early 2018, but unfortunately, the evaluation of the tender took four years. In the meantime, the forest was growing. When they received the letter of support, they started to implement the investment, but by that time, the forest was four years older and the prices in the construction sector got higher, so they had to finance the difference themselves. Because the forest was ripe for cutting, they cut it down and invested the money into construction of the canopy walkway.

photo: Google Earth

Written and translated by Szilvia Zsilák. More detailed Hungarian version of this story. Photos and video: Bence Bodoky. Cover: reader’s photo.