“The fact that Debrecen is stronger today than it was before the crisis started is largely due to the strategy we laid down years ago, which set out clear directions and goals for us. In the previous cycle this was the “New Phoenix Plan” (“Új Főnix Terv”) and in this cycle it is an improved version, the Debrecen2030 urban strategy. This is the programme on the basis of which we have implemented the economic, transport, educational, cultural and welfare developments of recent years, on the basis of which thousands of jobs have been created, kindergartens, nurseries and schools have been renovated and built, huge transport investments have been made, and theatres have been built. The objectives of the past term were built around three main aspects: overcoming the crisis, preserving the unity, peace and security of the city, and laying the economic foundations that will ensure Debrecen’s environmentally conscious and sustainable development, success and attractiveness for decades to come”, the mayor stressed at the event.

He said that all three goals have been achieved, but that the coming years will bring many risks, uncertainties and challenges. He recalled that in March 2020, the whole world was paralysed by the coronavirus pandemic. “We have learned about the sense of confinement and the end of community life, we have learned about concepts such as emergencies, curfews, the need to wear masks, house calls, concepts and situations that were almost unknown in the earlier stages of our lives. The city, our families, our communities and our economy had to find a way out of this depression. In a matter of moments, we went from a peaceful, predictable world to a situation where everything became dangerous and uncertain, where suddenly faith became the most precious thing,” he recalled.

“Ten years ago, we made the decision to build the future of Debrecen on economic-based urban development. Accordingly, we launched the largest economic development programme in Hungary and one of the largest economic development programmes in Central Europe. One of the biggest challenges in recent years has been to develop Debrecen’s economy at full speed on the basis of our commitments in an economy of uncertainty, further worsened by the global economy, and exacerbated by the explosion in energy prices and inflation. Over the past ten years, we have increased the size of our industrial sites tenfold, with announced job-creating investments exceeding HUF 5,000 billion and the number of new jobs created and announced approaching 20,000. Therefore, we can say with full confidence that Debrecen has been able to grow stronger even in times of crisis,” he underlined.

In this context, the mayor said that “in the last 10 years, our tax revenues have more than tripled compared to 2014, while the economy of Debrecen as a whole will grow sixfold in 10 years, compared to its size in 2020, by 2030. In this growth, it is important to emphasise that we are counting not only on large international companies, but also on local and county SMEs”. According to László Papp, by preserving the diversity of the city’s economy, Debrecen will become the new European centre of the most promising sector of the 21st century, electromobility. Revolutionary changes are taking place in the automotive industry, and this will be one of the central locations. “The decisions prior to these developments, and the complexity and effectiveness of our economic development programme, can contribute to Debrecen’s ranking among the top 10 capitals in the world in the Financial Times Fdi global survey in 2021. No other Hungarian city has achieved such a result, not even in Central Europe,” he said.

The mayor stressed that Debrecen has been one of the richest cities since historical times, community wealth has been and still is an important measure of the city’s status, and we are trying to continue this tradition. In 2019, Debrecen had HUF 403 billion in assets, and by 2024, this will rise to HUF 543.6 billion, an increase of almost 35 percent. The increase is even more striking if compared to the last 10 years, with a 65% increase compared to 2014. It remains an important objective to ensure that the city’s wealth continues to grow dynamically thanks to value-creating investments. The amount of investment is closely correlated with the investment needs of local economic development. Accordingly, in 2014 the total investment was only HUF 5.3 billion, in 2018 it reached almost HUF 32 billion, and in 2024 the total investment planned for the year is close to HUF 98 billion.

He added that the biggest investments of the past decade have been in the development of industrial parks, without which job creation is unthinkable. By 2025, the Northwest Economic Zone, which will also house the BMW factory, will be fully completed, including the associated supplier park on a total area of 500 hectares, while the South Economic Zone will be built on more than 700 hectares in the southern part of the city.

Among the most important developments of the last cycle, he mentioned: the International School of Debrecen (ISD) was inaugurated in 2019, the Aquaticum Strand was awarded several international prizes, the Sziget-kék Plaground and the Extreme Sports Park, DEBEX, opened in 2020. 

“As part of the Green City programme, we renovated several urban squares in Vénkert, Újkert, Tóc, Doboz, Sestakert, but also the Dósa Palace and Petőfi Square were renewed. In addition, educational institutions, crèches and kindergartens were built and renovated,” he said.  

Speaking about the transport improvements, the mayor said that everything from the smaller investments, such as the illuminated zebra crossings, to the big ones, such as the Bem Square-Nyíl Street-Hadházi Road junction, the completion of the Kiskörút, the improvement of the 33 main road and the underground car park in Sas Street, have been completed.

“When we launched this municipal cycle, we opened a new chapter in urban environmental policy. We did so because we were aware from the very beginning that the economic development of the city can only be considered successful if it meets all aspects of sustainability and environmental protection,” he stressed. As part of this, he said, Green City programmes were launched from the housing estate to Petőfi Square, the “10,000 trees in Debrecen” programme was completed, community gardens were created and the community orchard programme was launched. Solar parks have been installed in several parts of the city, the first phase of the Civaqua programme has been completed and green corridors have been created around industrial zones. However, we are equally ambitious for the future and plan to implement the second phase of the Civaqua programme, ensuring a continuous water supply for the Vekeri and Fancsika lakes, to continue the “Plant 10,000 trees in Debrecen” programme and to implement the 50-point action programme of the Green Codex,” he added.

László Papp stressed that an Environmental Control System will be set up to monitor the safe operation of Debrecen’s industry, developed jointly by professors of the University of Debrecen and experts of the municipality. “This system will be designed to monitor industrial companies, their operations and their impact on the environment 24 hours a day. Decades of strategic cooperation with the University of Debrecen have been a key condition and driver of Debrecen’s development. Environmental protection and sustainability are a non-negotiable issue. Our main goal is to ensure that Debrecen, thanks to its strong economy, provides high income opportunities for its citizens, while at the same time providing a framework for the lives of our citizens as a green, liveable, environmentally friendly municipality”, he said.

“The strength of Debrecen lies in communities and cooperation. In recent difficult years, great communities have been created thanks to exemplary cooperation in the fields of church, culture, social affairs and sport. I am proud that on the one hand the religious communities in Debrecen have been able to renovate their churches and community spaces, new churches, church kindergartens, crèches and schools have been built during this difficult period. On the other hand, in the spirit of caring for the needy, we have always been there for those who needed help and support, through the Charity, with an even broader collaboration,” the mayor said.

“In 2015, we launched an exemplary programme, the “Move Debrecen!” health initiative, which aimed to encourage the citizens of Debrecen to exercise and contribute to the health of our citizens through screening and prevention programmes. The success of the programme is demonstrated by the fact that in recent years more than 65,000 people have participated in the programme, from schoolchildren to the elderly,” he said.

The mayor also reported that Debrecen’s education system is growing and developing along with the economy. In recent years, both the Centre for Vocational Education and Training and the University of Debrecen have strongly supported the development of the training processes required by the city’s economy. As a result, the number of students at the Vocational Training Centre has almost doubled compared to 2015, and the engineering profession is set to grow significantly in the coming years thanks to the developments at the University’s Faculty of Engineering. The main goal in this area is to create training and jobs that attract young people to Debrecen and offer a lifelong alliance between the city and its young citizens, offering career opportunities. As a result of the work of the past years, all the conditions are in place for Debrecen to win the labour market race from the school bench and to fill new jobs with a predominantly Hungarian skilled workforce, a significant proportion of whom have learned their profession in this city.

Thanks to the work and developments of the past two and a half decades, Debrecen has a good chance of becoming the fastest growing city in the country in the next five years. Wages are rising at a rate above the national average, while the country’s most advanced and diversified industrial and economic structure is emerging. Debrecen will become the new economic and business centre of the Central European region. Thanks to economic growth, Debrecen’s own revenues could double in the next five years compared to the current situation, providing much more resources to meet the development needs of its population.

According to the mayor, Debrecen is facing two serious threats. One is the ineptitude of the local left, the other is the war ambitions that seem to be dominating Europe. The first will be settled in the municipal elections, the second in the European Parliament elections. “I have confidence in ourselves, I have confidence in the alliance we made with the citizens of Debrecen 25 years ago, I have confidence in cooperation, and that is why I believe in the future of Debrecen. The stakes of the municipal elections are to preserve the development, security and stability of Debrecen. For development we need peace, security and stability. A pro-war stance in Europe must be prevented at all costs. This is the real stakes of the European Parliament elections. If we cannot move Europe, and therefore the world, towards peace, we will have to give up on development, prosperity and security. I believe that the situation is clear, Debrecen’s interest is peace, security, development and prosperity. We represent this. This is what we will continue to work for in the coming years, because it is in the interests of the citizens of Debrecen. For us, Debrecen comes first, because “we are Debrecen together! Go Hungary, Go Debrecen!”, the mayor concluded.

Source: debrecen.hu

Author: Debrecen4U