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The mayor of Budapest, Gergely Karácsony, has summarily cancelled a meeting of the Budapest Public Development Council scheduled for Tuesday, the state secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office for Budapest said on Twitter.

Balázs Fürjes told MTI positions on each side had been aligned on many issues and the final agenda agreed on.

But Karácsony then cancelled the meeting without offering a new date, he said. This means dialogue between the capital’s leadership and the central government has been postponed indefinitely, he added.

Fürjes said the government was intent on finding a solution to the renovation of the city’s landmark Chain Bridge in consultation with the city leadership. The government has pledged 6 billion forints (EUR 17.4m) to support the renovation project, but it wants questions answered concerning the bridge’s condition, he noted.

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The state secretary said the government was open to discussing other proposals regarding the capital, as well as professional and political issues around municipal funding.

The Budapest Public Development Council should ideally hold a meeting before the summer holidays and “find a solution to the worrying situation of Chain Bridge”, he said.

Karácsony said in a statement that his office had postponed the next meeting of the Budapest Public Development Council and that he had personally informed Gergely Gulyás, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, of the decision.

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The reason given for the postponement was that the draft budget for 2021 would deprive local councils and the metropolitan administration of vital resources, thereby creating uncertainty regarding the capital’s development and operations.

Budapest, the statement said, would become a net contributor to the state; namely, central subsidies for the capital would come to less than the payments of Budapest taxpayers into the central budget.

A meeting scheduled for June 10 with the interior minister, at the invitation of local government associations, could be a suitable forum for resolving “this unsustainable situation”, the statement added.

Once the government’s intentions have been clarified and the budget negotiated, a meeting of the Public Development Council for Budapest may take place, the statement said.

Featured photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI

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