The government will continue in its commitment to state-financed projects in Budapest if there is concensus between the central government and the municipality concerning those investments, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office told his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
Gergely Gulyás said that the government had reviewed and expressed its support for the projects under way, but indicated that “a clear position by the municipal assembly is essential”.
The government will strive for a “fair partnership” with Budapest’s new leaders and will “observe the principles it has followed in the past nine years”, Gulyás said.
He added that a strong and prosperous capital was in the interest of the government, which has served as a basis for their cooperation in recent years. He noted that
combined value of state-financed projects completed since 2010 in Budapest reached nearly 2,000 billion forints, while projects under way were worth another 4,400 billion forints.
For example, Gulyás mentioned the renovation of the third metro line, construction of two sports stadiums, and work under the Liget Project, and said that the government would continue supporting those projects “if Budapest so wishes”. Concerning the Liget Project, Gulyás said that
the government was awaiting the new assembly’s position on the works under way and said that “if possible, we won’t demolish projects already completed” and noted that the new National Gallery and the House of Innovation buildings were still in the design phase.
Answering a question, Gulyás said that 20,000 housing units were being built in Budapest in 2019, and the construction authority had issued 18,000 building permits for next year.
“We cannot say that there is any less spirit for construction,” he added.
Concerning another question if the prime minister has answered an invitation for talks with Gergely Karácsony, Budapest’s new mayor, Gulyás said that his office had not received a written invitation. He added that the answer will first be sent to the proponent of the talks and the public would be informed later. He also said that “there is a point in having talks only when the city knows what it wants to achieve”. He added that the government’s recent decisions will “help the mayor determine what he and the city want”.
Commenting on remarks of Johann Wadephul, the parliamentary group leader of Germany’s CDU party, on Hungary’s stance regarding Turkey, Gulyás said Wadephul “should acquaint himself more with the standpoint of his own government which is very close to the Hungarian stance these days”. Another migration wave of three to four million people would harm Germany the most, he said.
Regarding Fidesz’s membership in the European People’s Party, which was suspended in March, Gulyas said a full membership for Fidesz currently had “a fifty percent chance”. The question is whether the direction of the party and the EPP are compatible, he said.
On the nomination of commissioners into the new European Commission, Gulyás said that the government’s pick, EU ambassador Oliver Várhelyi, has not received any criticism. The Hungarian government does not have to nominate a female candidate along with Varhelyi, he said, as it had announced its nomination well ahead of Ursula von der Leyen was elected EC president.
Gulyás said US media reports claiming the Orbán had influenced US President Donald Trump regarding Ukraine were “fake news”. He added that Hungary trusted Ukraine’s new leaders would be better than their predecessors.