mszp.hu
04/01/2021 17:58

Government Gives HUF 3 Billion to Hotel Owners, But Keeps Their Identities Secret

Government Gives HUF 3 Billion to Hotel Owners, But Keeps Their Identities Secret
In the last days of the year, the state transferred three billion forints of public money, i.e. government aid, to Hungarian hotel companies and accommodation providers who demanded compensation for their lost income due to the coronavirus.

However, the government still does not disclose exactly who received the free money and on the basis of what verified data.

As is well known, to help the tourism sector, which has suffered serious damage due to the coronavirus, the government has undertaken to compensate accommodation providers for 80 per cent of the allegedly lost revenue from registered accommodations in November 2020. According to the Hungarian Tourism Agency and the Prime Minister's Office, Hungarians booked about 928 thousand guest nights in the period on which the compensation was based, and on these grounds HUF 3 billion was allocated to companies reporting their alleged occupancy data in the last days of the year. However, it is still not known which companies and on the basis of what data received this money, the circumstances of which increasingly smell of corruption.

It is utterly unrealistic that during the quarantine period of the coronavirus there were almost exactly as many booked guest nights in the hotels concerned as a year earlier when tourism was still at its peak and everyone was free to travel. Moreover, the data on which the compensation was based had to be provided by the hotel and hostel owners; the authenticity of the figures was presumably not verified by anyone. There is therefore strong suspicion that the “pet oligarchs” of the government and affiliated businesses may even have been alerted in advance of the state subsidy and provided false information in order to win public money. The suspicion of abuse is further reinforced by the fact that, despite the legal requirements of the submitted request for data of public interest, neither the Ministry of Finance nor the Hungarian Tourism Agency has provided me with relevant data so far, so they cannot be verified.

We have three billion reasons to see clearly in this matter. That is why, if the requested information of public interest is not made public within a short period of time and the issues that arise are not clarified, I will go to court and, if necessary, to the police. The tourism sector has suffered serious damage from the covid 19 pandemic and has received almost no substantial assistance from the government. The knights of Orbán’s so-called National Cooperation System (NER) should not steal from employers and employees in a sector in trouble, but help them.

 

 

István Ujhelyi

Member of the European Parliament

First Vice-Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism

 

Budapest / Brussels - 04.01.2021.