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The majority of councillors in Budapest’s new municipal assembly have failed to back plans for a superhospital in southern Buda and have refused to approve city financing for further health-care projects, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office said on Thursday.

At his regular press briefing, Gergely Gulyás called it “bad news” that the assembly on Wednesday rejected two related amendments proposed by the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance.

One concerned the construction of the superhospital and the other a 10 billion forint (EUR 29.7m) contribution by the municipal assembly to funding the upgrade of the city’s health-care institutions, he said.

Budapest’s public projects council will convene next week at the request of Mayor Gergely Karácsony to discuss with the government the municipality’s conditions, Gulyás said.

He added that he would try and convince the mayor that the city should not veto the superhospital project.

The city should also “contribute to its health budget if they really consider that a priority,” he added. “It would compromise the city’s creditability if they refused to spend any money on health services out of a budget of 300 billion forints,” Gulyás said. He added that many of the conditions set by the municipal leadership coincided with the government’s plans, and some of them had been written into in next year’s budget.

Gulyás said the government had a clear commitment to developing health services, adding the government’s Healthy Budapest scheme has budgeted 42 billion forints for health improvements next year. “There are more CT scanners in Budapest than there are districts”, he said, adding that the government was open to talks aimed at further increasing that number.

Gulyás welcomed the assembly’s unanimous decision to support plans for Budapest to host the 2023 World Athletics Championships, adding that “Budapest’s largest-ever green project” would be implemented alongside the event.

On another subject, Gulyás said the European Union was mulling a penalty of 50-60 billion forints in connection with municipal contracts for Budapest’s 4th metro line.

The government has initiated talks aimed at reducing that penalty to a minimum, he added.

Concerning another subject, Gulyás said the Hungary Helps scheme had been welcomed in many countries, especially in the US. He added the aid scheme would be “more successful than other programmes because it delivers aid directly to those that need it, such as church communities or hospitals in war zones.” “Hungary cannot stay passive when it comes to the world’s 245 million persecuted Christians,” he added.

Concerning the Budapest-Belgrade rail project, Gulyás said the agreements with contractors have been signed and construction is expected to take about three years to complete.

Source: MTI

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