New Budapest mayor calls for ‘free alliance’ of V4 capitals

Gergely Karácsony, the newly elected mayor of Budapest, has called for the creation of an “alliance of free cities” in Central Europe to counterweigh the power of what he calls illiberal governments and to secure EU funding.

In an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s largest newspaper, Mr Karácsony argues that from the EU should distribute funds not just to national governments, but directly to European capitals as well.

He said that he had discussed the proposal with Frans Timmermans, one of the two incoming executive vice presidents of the new European Commission, who reacted positively to the idea.

Gazeta Wyborcza reports that the four Visegrád capitals are in a similar political situation since all of them are now run by politicians in opposition to their national governments.

Mr Karácsony’s proposal comes as a response to the plans of Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission’s incoming president, to monitor the rule of law in all EU member states. This may likely to result in the loss of European funds for countries such as Poland and Hungary, whose governments remain in conflict with Brussels amid concerns over the rule of law.