The state of local governments in Hungary - summary


The state of local governments in Hungary - summary

Republikon Intézet

Mindenki Erzsébetvárosa and Republikon Institute held a conference on 10 October 2023 about the not so positive position that municipalities had to face last year. Among others, state tasks delegated to the municipalities, the solidarity tax and the decreasing influence of municipalities were mentioned, along with the 2024 local elections and and the potential cooperation of opposition parties. Furthermore, the roundtable discussion focused not only on the municipalities of Budapest but also on the cities of the agglomeration and the countryside, that are often neglected or even hindered by the governement.


Roundtable discussion:

Ambruss Kiss, the deputy mayor of Budapest pointed out that the goverment is technically able to interfere with the budget of the city due to the solidarity tax. In addition, he mentioned that municipalities still might be checks against the state despite the unequal conditions. Lastly, according to him, the municipalities may have a lot less power regarding the the waterworks because of the state-owned shares of it, which could eventually lead to the concession of the waterworks.

Péter Niedermüller, mayor of Erzsébetváros (Budapest 7th district) said that the measures of the government during the pandemic - for example free parking - hindered the municipalities financially, but despite all of this, the district went through a lot of progress, especially culturally, while having a 5 party leading coalition, which doesn’t agree on everything. Additionally, the state left a lot of services to the municipalities, which creates a huge burden to the city management. He also thinks that cooperation between cities / districts is neccessary, because - based on his own experience -  they can learn a lot from each other.

Klára Nyirati, the mayor of Baja believes that the state of the municipalities is getting worse year by year because most of the funds allocated to development had been withdrew by the government. She added that Baja was led by Fidesz for 12 years and overall no major progress were made in city. According to her, the majority of the voters decide based on their emotions and this results in people not trusting parties and because of this, civil organizations may have an advantage. She also thinks that the 2024 EP election could be a good opportunity for parties to test their popularity.

According to Tamás Wittinghof, mayor of Budaörs, the utility price cap reduction caused a huge amount of debt to the municipalities, while their influence got reduced for example in education and social care.  He also mentioned that the solidarity tax is a big issue for cities because it can exceed their incomes. Finally, he added that at the 2022 parliamentary elections it was not the idea of a united opposition that failed, but the actual method of it, thus there is still need for cooperation between opposition parties.


The event was moderated by Király Dávid, the leader of the Budapest Division of Republikon Institute.

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