The village of Óbarok, population 800, has made numerous requests for financial support to build a sidewalk along the main street, but European Union funds have not been forthcoming. Óbarok mayor Mihály Borbiró is so frustrated by his community being overlooked that he’s decided to resign after the village adopts its budget in April.
Borbiró doesn’t think a sidewalk for his village is too much to ask, especially considering the kind of developments taking place just 5 kilometers away in Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s hometown of Felcsút: it received HUF 40 million (USD 137,000) for sidewalks of its own in 2015, while Óbarok’s entire annual budget added up to just HUF 60 million (USD 206,000) that year, reports HirTV.
“If I told somebody in the European Union that there is such a town in the 21st century that has no sidewalk, would they smile?” mayor Borbiró asked HirTV. “Unfortunately the tenders don’t always meet the needs that occur in small towns like this.”
Not always, but sometimes they do. Felcsút residents receive 60 times more European Union support per capita than their neighbors in Óbarok, and additional public development funds were awarded to the town at the end of 2016 for the relocation of their water tower and other infrastructure developments. According to statements from Felcsút mayor and Orbán’s personal friend Lőrinc Mészáros, 2017 will also be a good year for the town.
“We would like to submit a rural development application for the overhaul of outer roads,” said Mészáros, who many suspect to be the prime minister’s strawman. “This is the road that leads to the Noll ranch [and golf course], it’s a HUF 100 million (USD 344,000) tender which should naturally have a down payment.”
The disparity in support awarded to the neighboring towns doesn’t strike Orbán as problematic.
“Since Felcsút gives Hungary its prime minister, all subsequent developments here are subject to attack,” he said. “The more they attack us because things are happening in the village and because it is developing, the more we need to continue our work.”
Work certainly continues in Felcsút, which has been the beneficiary of a 3,500-seat soccer stadium, a soccer academy, a miniature railway line, and billions of forints of public money through the government’s controversial TAO program.