Felcsút narrow-gauge railway fraudulent use of EU funds says MEP

June 13, 2016


Translation of Dialogue for Hungary MEP Benedek Jávor’s blogpost of June 2nd, 2016 with the heading “PM: The Felcsút narrow-gauge railway was built fraudulantly—we are turning to the EU.

Dialogue for Hungary [Hungarian: Párbeszéd Magyarországért, PM] Member of the European Parliament, Benedek Jávor, has turned to OLAF [European Anti-Fraud Office] as well as the European Commission’s Regional Directorate in the matter of the unused Felcsút small-gauge railway.  The party believes it serves the interests of neither the European Union nor Hungarian taxpayers that [Prime Minister] Viktor Orbán obtained EU grants for his hobby project through the use of false promises.  Hungary has a burning need for those funds for public transportation we have mindlessly spent for the prime minister’s edification.

Even now a mere 40-50 passengers on average use the Felcsút narrow-gauge railway daily, built from HUF 600 million in EU grants.  The facility is tragically unused.

The Orbán government obtained the money for the toy train that rumbles past Viktor Orbán’s stadium and football academy by promising 2500-7000 passengers daily (the reality of which is called into question by the fact that the passenger traffic, for example, of Budapest’s Southern Train Station (Déli pályaudvar) barely amounts to 10,000).

Dialogue for Hungary previously called EU authorities’ attention to the baseless nature of the project.  Now we are turning to the EU anti-fraud office and the Regional Directorate responsible for handling funds with a new submission calling their attention to the fact that neither the EU nor the Hungarian taxpayers’ interests are served by the fact that Viktor Orbán’s hobby project was realized with EU funds using data that is completely divorced from reality.  The Felcsút railway already belongs to the pantheon of the most pointless EU projects, even as the government prepares to extend it, also with EU funds.

There are plenty of opportunities in Hungary for improving public transportation in a worthwhile manner, which anyone who uses it knows perfectly well.  The head of government  and the members of his government obviously are not among them.  The EU is not so rich that it can squander money on the passions of East-European politicians in place of improvements that serve the public interest.

Brussels-Budapest, June 2nd, 2016