Local government officials from Poland and Hungary addressed a letter to European Commission President - Ursula von der Leyen today, outlining their shared position on the governments’ planned veto of the European Union budget and the issue of aid funds.
During a joint press conference Rafał Trzaskowski, the Mayor of Warsaw, and Gergely Karácsony, the Mayor of Budapest, made the following announcement:
As mayors elected in free and democratic elections, it is our duty to ensure the well-being of the inhabitants of our small homelands. Therefore, together with the Mayor of Budapest and over 200 other members of the local government community in Poland and Hungary, we decided to write a common letter to the President of the European Commission, emphasised Rafał Trzaskowski, the Mayor of Warsaw.
The actions of our governments do not reflect the will of the people. So we do not want our communities to be divided by these decisions. Especially, since our government discriminates those local government bodies where the power belongs to the opposition. Our initiative reflects the true will of the people and the spirit of European cooperation. If the country is divided, we will not be able to overcome the crisis together, we will not be able to develop and compete, said Gergely Karácsony, the Mayor of Budapest.
In the letter, the local government bodies demand that pandemic recovery funds, which they may lose as a consequence of the government’s planned actions, can be transferred to investments and projects implemented at the regional and local level.
The formula of direct financing for local government bodies is already present in the EU system to some extent. Warsaw and several dozen neighbouring municipalities have already benefited from this possibility and implemented various support programmes. It would therefore be possible to use these formulas to develop additional support mechanisms in the event of a veto on the European Union budget.
All countries are in need of financial resources to combat the crisis, the effects of epidemics or climate change,” added Rafał Trzaskowski. “Without them, the whole Union will be punished for the actions of Poland and Hungary, but above all we, the citizens, will suffer. That is why we are petitioning for the creation of tools that will allow local government bodies to benefit from the funds directly, without government involvement. We are prepared therefore to take responsibility for them.
The document was signed by representatives of 275 Polish and Hungarian local government bodies. It was forwarded today to the Presidents of the European Parliament and the European Council.