Last week, Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony said that China and the Orbán-led government had given up on the construction of the controversial Fudan University campus set to be built in Budapest. However, in a written answer to an opposition MP, government official Tamás Schanda, stated that both in the case of Fudan campus and Student City, the “most economical and favorable construction is being prepared.”
As we have previously reported, Gergely Karácsony recently announced that the Budapest Assembly decided not to veto the World Athletics Championships due to be hosted by the Hungarian Capital in 2023, because in his view both China and the Orbán administration have given up on the construction of the Chinese Fudan University campus.
Last week during a press conference, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the prime minister’s office, was asked to clarify the government’s stance on the Fudan project. In his brief reply, Gulyás said that the government has a clear position, which has been stated several times, and this position remains unchanged.
“If the people of Budapest want Fudan University, then it should be built,” he said. It suggests that the fate of Fudan University is dependent on a possible future referendum.
Tamás Schanda, a state secretary for the innovation and technology ministry, gave a slightly more extensive answer on the subject to the written question from opposition Párbeszéd MP, Tímea Szabó. Based on this, the government has not at all given up on the Fudan project.
According to Schanda, both in the case of the Fudan campus and the Student City, the “most economical and favorable construction is being prepared.”
The government is also legally obliged to report to Parliament by December 31, 2022 on the preparations of the project and the estimated costs of its implementation, Schanda underscored.
The government supports a referendum to allow the people of Budapest to decide once the terms of the project are known, on whether “the world-leading Fudan University should establish a campus” in the capital, the state secretary added.
However, it was the mayor of Budapest, Gergely Karácsony, who initiated a referendum with the aim to prevent Fudan from establishing a campus in Budapest costing hundreds of billions of forints for the Hungarian taxpayers.
In the featured photo illustration: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán with Chinese PM Li Keqiang. Photo by Balázs Szecsődi/PM’s Press Office