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Hungary deepens economic ties with Beijing as EU warns against overreliance on China



CATL has invested US$7.8 billion in the Mikepércs plant, which the Hungarian government said will create 9,000 new jobs. It is expected to open next year and provide batteries for all major European and Chinese automakers.

The residents who have sued CATL claim the government published conflicting studies regarding the CATL’s environmental impact in the area.

They said that an initial government assessment warned about the possibility of chemicals from the plant’s wastewater polluting nearby water bodies. However, that study was then recalled and discredited by another government assessment.

This lack of transparency, according to the mayor of Mikepércs, has eroded public trust.

Residents also believe some chemicals that will be used to produce EV batteries at the CATL plant are currently not regulated under Hungarian law, and that new laws need to be passed before the battery maker can start production there.

CNA asked CATL’s lawyers for a statement on the lawsuit during a recent hearing, but they had no comment. The lawyers also petitioned the judge not to let CNA’s cameras film them during the proceeding.

CATL said it will “strive to become a partner in the sustainable development of Debrecen and the wider region”, while Hungary’s government said it expects the company to comply with the country’s environmental laws.

However, not everyone is convinced, with some residents fearing that their farms will soon turn into wastelands.

When asked why his family had joined the lawsuit against CATL, one resident, Mr Lazlo Szemán, put it this way: “Because we don’t want to die here.”Source

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