Protest Held Against New Chinese Battery Factory in Hungary

  • 30 Jan 2023 9:55 AM
  • Hungary Around the Clock
Protest Held Against New Chinese Battery Factory in Hungary
Nearly 1,000 people demonstrated in downtown Debrecen on Saturday against the planned construction of an electric vehicle (EV) battery factory in the town.

Speakers at the event expressed concerns about environmental damage and the possible depletion of water resources.

One demonstrator said “It is not that we do not want a battery factory, but we want clean water and clean soil.”

Local residents have angrily expressed their objections to the planned factory to be built by Chinese company CATL at public meetings.

One of the organisers said the demonstration had been arranged by local mothers. A participant said they have yet to receive answers from the authorities to many of their questions.

It was announced last August that CATL would build an EV battery factory near Debrecen, its second in Europe. It was immediately declared a project of national economic importance, eligible for fast-track approval and the state set aside Ft 88 billion for upgrading the power supply of the industrial park alone.

The Momentum and Mi Hazánk parties have each vowed to initiate a local referendum on the matter, and the LMP has submitted a national referendum initiative so that a battery factory can only be built in Hungary where the local population agrees to it.

According to Debrecen mayor László Papp, the case of the battery factory has become part of a big political circus, as the issue has been hijacked by political actors and made into a topic that is very difficult to debate meaningfully.

He said city leaders will sit down to negotiate with those who have concerns about the investment, as they are open to problems and will try to find a solution for everything.

Plans for battery factories have also met resistance in Szombathely and Hajdúszoboszló.

Cabinet Office state secretary Csaba Dömötör alleged on Sunday that the left wing is behind the protests amidst fierce international competition to host EV battery factories.

Photo: Debreciner Tamás Polgár Tóth

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