In Hungary even desperately needed humanitarian programs are eventually tainted by party politics and corruption.
Fidesz MP and undersecretary with the Prime Minister’s Office László Tasó (pictured left) campaigns with EU-financed food packages for the needy, claiming they were provided by the Hungarian government, reports Magyar Nemzet.
“The strength of the Hungarian economy allows us to provide help to families with small children beyond the framework of the family support system and social benefits,” reads Tasó’s Facebook post in which he proudly boasts that until the end of January some 121,000 packages worth a total of HUF 977 million (USD 3.87 million) were handed out to the needy. “Hungary will always be strong enough to provide the economic basis for supporting families and those in need. There will always be volition and will to help there where it is most needed,” Tasó concluded his post.
In the pictures accompanying the post, a suited Tasó is seen handing out boxes. The boxes are covered with a huge sticker resembling the government propaganda’s usual white and blue design that reads: “This package has been delivered to you and your family by the Hungarian government.”
The packages, however, have very little to do with the Hungarian government, let alone the strength of the Hungarian economy as they have been financed entirely by the European Union. The Operative Program Supporting Persons In Need (RSZTOP), by which the packages are delivered, is funded entirely by the European Union. The program was launched last year after several years of delay.
Like just about every program in Hungary involving EU funding, the second phase of the RSZTOP program reeked of corruption.
The Ministry of Human Resources held a single tender for suppliers to provide HUF 13.7 billion (USD 54.5 million) of food packages. By not holding separate smaller tenders, the Ministry effectively barred smaller local enterprises from applying. Eventually, four consortiums applied, three of which were rejected, two for offering “too low prices.” At the end of December 2017, Politics Can Be Different (LMP) co-chair Ákos Hadházy revealed that the winning consortium’s offer was overpriced.