Towards a climate neutral EU:
efficient allocation of EU funds

The never been Halászka Community Reservoir

Organisation: Clean Air Action Group Website: Added: November 28, 2023
Project start date: January 11, 2012
Project end date: October 14, 2014


The municipality of Mórahalom has received almost €700 million in EU funding for projects which, according to local witnesses, have not been implemented according to the approved project plan. One of the projects, back in 2015, was to build a reservoir as part of a cross-border Hungarian-Romanian irrigation tender. However, the project was only implemented on paper, as the 14-hectare, one-metre-deep Halaszka Community Reservoir has never seen water, according to locals. The EU money was supposed to solve the irrigation problems of farmers in the Homokhátság (declared a semi-desert by the UN in 2020). Investigative journalists have revealed that Mórahalom council reported to the EU on paper that 70 hectares of land were being irrigated from the reservoir, but local farmers never had access to the water. It also emerged that, according to the water management licence, the water from the reservoir could never have been used for irrigation, nor did the facility have an official operating licence. In addition to this case, the local government of Mórahalom has made bad use of other EU opportunities to develop water management in the 'Hungarian semi-desert'. In another tender won a few years ago, the municipality itself was supposed to set up a model irrigation farm to demonstrate how to improve the efficiency of local management. The tender called for the construction of two new reservoirs, but in reality, there is no sign of them. Nor is there any sign of the 470 metres of backbone pipes that could be connected to the irrigation system to water the land here. Evidence on the ground shows that there was no irrigated crop production. In addition, the community has appropriated several hectares of land near the proposed but never built facilities, making it impossible for local farmers to work. According to local residents, the municipality continues to expropriate farmland under the guise of public benefit from government and EU projects, further complicating the work and livelihoods of local farmers.

Financial data

The value of the project is approximately 700 million EUR.


Both projects are an excellent deterrent and a bad example of how some applicants take advantage of otherwise well-intentioned EU funding in Hungary. The above description highlights the importance of on-the-spot checks and monitoring being built into the project implementation process, and the unfortunate consequences of their absence. Another important lesson is that the tender also contributed to the expropriation of local farmers' land by the municipality on the grounds that it was in the public interest. The municipality has both made it impossible for the farmers to survive and has transferred the land to its own circle of friends and family.

Information sources

Other info

European Climate Initiative (EUKI)
This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI). EUKI is a project financing instrument by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). The EUKI competition for project ideas is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union (EU) in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.