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“The issue of the Student City is one of the biggest betrayals from this government,” Mayor Gergely Karácsony said during an online press conference on Sunday, held at the planned and potential location of the large-scale student accommodation hub. The Prime Ministerial candidate explained that the biggest problem with Fudan is that it would push out the Student City from the capital’s most worthwhile development area.

In his view, the Fidesz-led government, “not only betrays students arriving from the countryside to Budapest. And not only the local government which they agreed on this project with, but actually themselves too, as the concept of ​​the Student City was one of those lucky exceptions to the system of bad relations between the government and the capital where there was finally something we could deeply agree on.” 

Gergely Karácsony also explained that the construction of the Student City would be “extremely important” both for Budapest and for the country as a whole. “We know exactly how few dormitory spots there are in Budapest. We know exactly that a significant portion of young people in rural areas who come to Budapest are forced to rent, which is a very big problem for them as well. And we do know that this has an unfavorable effect on Budapest’s real estate prices as well.

And when we say yes to the student city, of course we also say no to the Fudan investment. ”

Socialist (MSZP) MP Ágnes Kunhalmi, an other participant of the conference, confirmed that in case of a future Karácsony government, they must take in a large-scale dormitory development program both in Budapest and outside the capital.

While governmental forces point out that the University is among the best worldwide, many criticize the project. The opposition alliance too has taken a firm stance on the matter.

According to the main points of criticism, the costly project would be paid entirely by Hungarian taxpayers (Hungary would take out a loan from China), and its costs would be higher than the yearly state financing of Hungary’s whole higher education sector. In addition, tuition fees would be very high for Hungarian pockets, while the project’s overseer would be a Chinese firm previously suspected of corruption and unlawful surveillance a number of times.

China and the Communist Party’s involvement is also a matter of debate, but the latest and loudest criticism has centered around Fudan’s occupation of space at the expense of the large-scale Student City project (which would provide accommodation and accompanying infrastructure to 8,000 students).

featured image: “Let’s get the Student City back!;” via András Jámbor’s Facebook page