Dozens of ruling party Fidesz politicians and their wives received tens of millions of forints worth of EU agricultural grants in 2016 despite having little, if any, experience when it comes to farming, reports blikk.hu.
Based on its review of the data, Blikk calculates that the wife of Fidesz MP László L. Simon, who works as a fitness trainer, received HUF 23.7 million. Blikk notes that she purchased 278 hectares (720 acres) of arable land from the state for HUF 280 million (USD 1 million) a year or two prior to that, in the vicinity of the Velence lake.
The newspaper says Simon finds the notion that a politician or a member of his household receives EU subsidies merely because he is a politician to be “preposterous.”
The wife of Fidesz MP István Horváth received HUF 21 million.
“We asked the Szekszárd politician when his wife, who teaches English, got into agriculture, but we did not receive an answer,” Blikk said.
Fidesz MP Erik Bánki’s wife received HUF 18.5 million in 2016. The fact that she received only HUF 300,000 in 2015 causes the newspaper to caustically observe that “his spouse with a law degree can also taste the world of cultivation.”
The wife of Fidesz MP Sándor Farkas received HUF 11.3 million in her own name. “She, however, counts as an old agricultural expert as her husband is the CEO of an agricultural company,” Blikk notes sarcastically.
The wife of Fidesz MP Balázs Győrffy received HUF 9.9 million worth of agricultural subsidies.
Blikk notes that the wife of opposition party Politics Can Be Different (LMP) politician R. Benedek Sally received HUF 7.6 million in 2016.
Blikk cites one agronomist as saying that it is “suspicious” when people from completely different walks of life receive agricultural subsidies.
“If they aren’t farmers, then it’s questionable why they need the land and the supports that go with it,” Mrs. Sándor Ács told Blikk, adding that land speculation could not be ruled out.