The foreign plaudits received by Budapest this year contradict opposition criticism that the city had been destroyed by those in power, incumbent mayor István Tarlós told public news channel M1 on Monday morning.

In March, Budapest was awarded the title of ‘European Best Destination’. Most recently, The Economist ranked it as the most livable capital city in eastern Europe, he said.

Tarlos noted that according to the British weekly, Budapest has moved up twenty spots in the ranking since 2010, “taking a towering lead” not only ahead of other eastern European capital cities, but ahead of metropolises such as New York and London.

The ranking criteria speak for themselves, the mayor said, noting that they include factors such as stability, infrastructure, transport, culture and environment.

“For this reason, talking about a destruction of the city is just nonsense, he said.

In response to the opposition signature drive to stop “the stadium construction craze”, Tarlós said he was the one who had stopped the construction of a nine-level tennis stadium on Margaret Island and the reconstruction of a youth stadium.

“As far as the Puskás Stadium is concerned, there is at least one stadium of this size in the capital city of every civilised country,” he said.

The reconstructed stadium is scheduled to reopen later this year.

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