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Gov’t Imposes Austerity on Hungarians While Concealing Cost of Aug. 20 Events

This year will also see a four-day series of events around August 20 to celebrate the founding of the country, the relevant communications agency informed MTI on June 25. In their announcement, they wrote that during August 18-21, there will be more event locations than last year and a genuine festival atmosphere. And to celebrate Hungary’s founding, there will also be the largest fireworks display in Europe.

Since that time, the government has announced a major reshaping of the KATA tax scheme and the end of subsidized utility costs for households. Considering the state of the economy and the harsh measures imposed on the country, Magyar Hang asked the Prime Minister’s Office whether the government plans to cut back on the scale of the festivities, but the news outlet has not received a response.

Two days ago, investigative outlet Átlátszó wrote about how the Hungarian Tourist Agency (MTÜ) is concealing how much public money it plans to spend on the August 20-themed events and Europe’s largest fireworks show. MTÜ is justifying this by saying the decision was a data-driven, which will nevertheless remain confidential for 10 years.

MTÜ has acknowledged that the cost of the fireworks this year will be net 1.3 billion Ft. (US $3.3 million), roughly the same price as last year. However, the agency refuses to divulge the total cost of the four-day extravaganza.

Last year’s August 20-themed events reportedly cost taxpayers nearly 12 billion Ft. ($30.4 million). [Magyar Hang]

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