Momentum MEP Anna Donáth and independent MP Ákos Hadházy have written a letter to the European Commission reporting the Hungarian government over tech firm 4iG, arguing that the activities of the telecommunications company and government subsidies provided to it were in breach of EU law.
It is obviously a matter of national security whether the switch for the Hungarian internet ends up in the hands of a single person, namely the owner of 4iG. This is why we have written a letter to the European Commission to determine if the company’s operations pose a risk to national security, and if it is right for the state to let such critical infrastructure fall into the hands of a single private owner.
-wrote Ákos Hadházy on social media yesterday morning.
The independent Member of Parliament added:
The ultimate goal of tech firm 4iG, majority-owned by Gellért Jászai, is to take over state-owned broadcasting company Antenna Hungária and dominate the Hungarian communications market. If the deal comes together, it would mean that a confidant of Viktor Orbán controls a significant share of broadcasting, the backbone network of the state, satellite communications, and the fiber optic network.
In their joint letter, the two politicians listed three questions that they would like the Committee to respond to:
- Are laws that designate companies of national strategic importance, thereby providing them a special status that exempts them from the normal laws of market competition, compatible with EU law?
- Does 4iG’s cross-border financial activity comply with relevant EU legislation?
- Can the 100 billion Ft. (US $318.7 million) in financial aid given by the Hungarian Development Bank and the 84.45 billion Ft. ($269.2 million) in financial subsidies provided to 4iG be classified as prohibited state aid?
4iG Nyrt. was spun off from the business empire Lőrinc Mészáros in 2019, with Gellért Jászai (pictured, center) taking over majority control of the company. The company acquired several strategically-important players in the market last year, including 75% of Hungaro Digitel Kft. from state company Antenna Hungária, as well as the cable TV and internet service provider Digi.
4iG’s expansion was largely due to bond issues from the Hungarian Development Bank and the Hungarian National Bank, meaning that in essence the state provided the funds for it, concludes napi.hu. [Index]