2023-11-30

SZEKLERLAND - While most of the municipalities in the region face the problems including a lack of infrastructure, there is one municipality where millions of euros have been invested in recent years.

Remetea has only six thousand inhabitants, yet several factories have been established there, and even the construction of a private airport was finished recently. Several guesthouses have opened and the construction of a five-star hotel has started.

The investments are linked to Attila Balázs, a businessman who started out in this village as a manual labourer, then founded his first company in Hungary and is now one of Hungary's top billionaires. His name is often associated with István Tiborcz, Viktor Orbán's son-in-law. The millionaire businessman's local patriotism probably spurred him to invest in his Romanian hometown, but he was lucky to combine this with the subsidies that the Hungarian government has announced, some of which have landed in his portfolio in a completely opaque way.

Work was still well underway during the investigation on these factories, which are expected to come on stream in 2024 at the earliest, but the impact of these large-scale investments does not yet seem to be bringing profound changes to the region and the local population. Remetea has always been known as an output village, with men travelling to work to distant lands. Surveys show that this will not change in the near future.

Photo by Helga Toth/Transtelex

Team members

Emese Gelmarean-Vig

Emese Gelmarean-Vig (Romania) has worked in journalism for over two decades. 

Emese Gelmarean-Vig

Gergely Brückner

Gergely Brückner is an editor at Telex.hu (Hungary).

Gergely Brückner

Dénes Csurgó

Dénes Csurgó (Hungary) has been working in business journalism for 10 years.

Dénes Csurgó

need resources for your own investigative story?

Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.

Apply

support independent cross-border investigative journalism

We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.

Donate