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Despite Protected Status, 34,000 sqm of Area at Lake Fertő to Be Developed by State Company

picture of Lake Fertő

Despite protests from locals, environmentalists, the European Union, and UNESCO, the government has still not given up on constructing a massive tourism site at Lake Fertő costing tens of billions of forints, writes investigative site Átlászó. The reeds and the characteristic stilthouses are long gone, a boating canal has been built on the smoothed-out shore, oligarch Lőrinc Mészáros’s company is completing work on a 9 billion Ft. (US $27.5 million) port, and enormous buildings not characteristic to the region are next to come.

An EU public procurement notice appeared on November 30 in which Sopron-Fertő Tourist Nonprofit Zrt. (SFTFN), the state-owned company directing the investment project, stated that was urgently looking for hotel and property developers to begin construction in the nature reserve.

Following Átlátszó’s article in November, Greenpeace turned to the Public Procurement Authority on December 9 to ask it to cancel the tender. However, this soon became unnecessary when SFTFN withdrew its call for tenders on December 10, referring to a number of questions raised by applicants.

But recently noticed that SFTFN has not given up, and announced a new plan to develop the lakeshore at Fertőrákos. The tender was issued on December 20 and appeared in the EU public procurement bulletin on 24 December.

This is despite the 34,000 sqm area intended for development is located in Natura 2000 territory, which is highly critical to wildlife. As the EU defines it:

Natura 2000 is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world. It offers a haven to Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats.

There is no accelerated process for this tender, but open bidding to be held until January 20, 2022. Companies that have had income of at least 26.5 billion Ft. ($81.1 million) from construction projects in the past three years will be eligible, meaning several companies owned by Lőrinc Mészáros have a strong chance of winning.

The project has a 3-year timeline, meaning that it could be completed by 2025 if it begins next year.


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