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The government sees the new Budapest leadership as “partners”, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said after Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.

Gergely Karácsony, the new mayor of Budapest who also attended the meeting at Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s invitation, told a joint press conference that it would be “much easier” to reach a consensus with the central government on “professional matters” than on “major political issues”.

Gulyás said that the “channels” used with Fidesz-backed former mayor István Tarlós will remain open, referring to the Budapest Public Development Council.

He said Karácsony had named the developments he is ready to support, such as completion of the Bozsik stadium for the Honvéd football team and a multi-purpose handball stadium. Concerning the building of an athletics stadium and Budapest hosting the 2023 IAAF World Championships, the mayor will form a position after a municipal council session in late November, Gulyás added.

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Regarding health-care developments, the government “acknowledges” the mayor’s “wish to be active in this field” although the sector falls under the authority of individual districts, Gulyás said.

The government does not want to undertake developments that lack the support of the mayors of Budapest and its districts, he said.

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The minister said he hoped the “constructive, professional approach concentrating on Budapest’s development” would set the tone for the relationship with the new leadership.

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Karácsony said a common cause was to make sure Budapest thrived in the years to come.

He said a meeting of the Budapest Public Development Council — composed of leaders and representatives of the central government and the municipal council — has been proposed for the next few weeks to assess Budapest’s major projects.

New Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony and PMO Head Gergely Gulyás. Photo by Zoltán Balogh/MTI

The new mayor said he wanted the relationship between the capital and the central government to be “institutional” and “full of content”.

Karácsony said health care, green spaces and public transport were his top priorities.

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“That’s what I’m seeking allies for,” he said. “Though there’ll be disputes … I see a realistic chance of winning over the government to implement the programme,” he said.

In the featured photo (from left to right): new Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony and PMO Head Gergely Gulyás. Photo by Zoltán Balogh/MTI

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