Hungary's Orban announces new climate action plan

Monday, 2020-02-17 14:40:48
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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivers his annual state-of-the-nation speech in Budapest, Hungary, on Feb. 16, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on February 16 announced a new climate action plan and spoke about future challenges in his annual state-of-the-nation speech.

"The government has adopted a climate action plan this week. On July 1, illegal landfills will be eradicated and polluters will be punished. Disposable plastics are banned, allowing metal and glass bottles to be reused. We will protect the Danube and the Tisza rivers from pollution," Orban said.

Under the climate action plan, 10 trees will be planted for every newborn in Hungary and by 2030 the proportion of the country's forest area will be increased to 27 percent.

Under the plan, the Hungarian government will support the production and purchase of cheap electric vehicles and by 2022 new buses in public transport will all be electric.

Orban said his government would expect multinational companies to adopt environmentally friendly solutions. The government will support the transition of small- and medium-sized businesses to go green with HUF32 billion (US$103 million) over the next two years.

Orban also spoke about his concerns for the future: "In the years ahead, we have cause for concern. I see the coming of dangerous years, even in 2020 -- climate crisis, demographic decline and sinister shadows threatening the European economy."

"The European economy and the eurozone have come to a standstill, and as 85 percent of Hungarian goods go to the EU, their problem is also ours," Orban warned.

Internationally, he said: "Competition will never cease to exist in the world, but Europe seems to want to stay out of it, to restrict competition within the (European) Union in terms of taxation, employment and services."

"If we do not want Europe to be pushed off the track, competition between Member States must be established so that they can compete with each other," he added.