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Fiery Debate Regarding Budapest’s ‘Superhospital’

Péter Cseresnyés 2019.12.02.

The opposition majority in the capital’s general assembly voted down a Fidesz amendment regarding a „superhospital” in Buda. According to the government, it is regrettable that the new leadership of the capital refuses to support the healthcare improvements in Budapest. The Budapest mayor, however, called the government’s statements in the matter simply political maneuvering, also stating that he is not opposed to the idea of the superhospital.

On Wednesday, the general assembly of Budapest unanimously accepted that Budapest would support the construction of the athletic stadium in the 9th district – which is a prerequisite for Hungary to host the 2023 World Athletics Championships – if the government met their five conditions.

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At the general meeting, the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat Group submitted an amendment to this multi-party proposal. According to the motion, not only the government, but the capital should also pay 50 billion HUF (EUR – 150 million) the amount of money Budapest’s new leadership wants from the government in return for their support of the athletics stadium) over the next few years for the upgrade of the city districts’ health-care institutions, and to provide support for the construction of a state-of-the-art healthcare complex in Buda, generally called a “superhospital.”

Opposition members, however, voted against the amendment, naming the capital’s lack of money as the reason.

After the meeting, government politicians and pro-government media called out Karácsony for “voting down the superhospital.”

At his regular press briefing, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, Gergely Gulyás, called it “bad news” that the assembly on Wednesday rejected the ruling parties’ amendments.

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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 credibility if they refused to spend any money on health services out of a budget of 300 billion HUF,” the minister said.

Balázs Fürjes, state secretary responsible for major Budapest investments, told news site index.hu that he hoped the capital’s leadership would be able to change and support the development.

According to Fürjes, it is not true that the opposition voted down the amendment only due to the 50 billion HUF support requirement (which equals one-sixth of their yearly budget), as voting separately on the amendments would have been possible. But by rejecting the motion, the capital said no to the superhospital as well, Fürjes added.

He also said that in spite of this, many of the conditions set by the municipal leadership coincided with the government’s plans.

Later, Mayor of Budapest Gergely Karácsony also responded to the matter on Facebook.

“I listened to and read the reactions of Minister Gulyás and Secretary of State Fürjes to the decisions of the Budapest General Assembly yesterday, and I believe the government has the intention to come to terms with Budapest.”

Budapest does not oppose the construction of a superhospital in South Buda, even if there are professional arguments against it, and it would be wise for the government to pay attention to them as well, Mayor Gergely Karácsony wrote.

According to Karácsony, “we can’t talk about opposing, because there’s nothing to oppose.”

“For five years, they [Fidesz] had only been talking about the superhospital, but nothing has been accomplished.  So, let us stop with the cheap uproars and political maneuvering, as the health of the people of Budapest deserves more seriousness.”

Budapest’s public projects council will convene this week at the request of Mayor Karácsony to discuss the municipality’s conditions with the government.

Featured photo via M-Teampannon