“I had to withdraw a lot of things; it wasn’t pleasant for us to give up dreams,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told public Kossuth Radio on Friday, referring to his government’s meeting with new Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony.
Speaking about the recent local elections, Orbán noted that the governing alliance, though it had won the election overall, had suffered heavy losses. Yet the opposition still insisted on “toying with [their accusations that there is] a dictatorship”. “Luckily, nothing of the sort happened during the mayor’s visit.”
He said the period of the past 9 years in Budapest under the former mayor, István Tarlós, had been a “golden age” during which the central government and municipality had managed to agree on the developments needed to be carried out. Orbán said Budapest had now changed course. “All the old left-wing government cadres are coming back,” he said, adding that they had a different approach to that of Tarlós.
Orbán said he had raised the issue of 15-20 projects at the meeting with Karácsony with a view to coming to an agreement on them. “I had to withdraw a lot of things; it wasn’t pleasant for us to give up dreams.”
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The PM referred to the flagship development project in City Park, claiming it to be “the biggest cultural development in the Western world”, and saying it had “stalled” because the mayor had vowed to abolish elements of the plan, including for the National Gallery, the House of Science and Innovation and the rebuilding of the City Park Theatre. He added, however, that it had come as “a pleasant surprise” that Karácsony had shown willingness to allow the rebuilding of the Regnum Marianum church, which had been blown up by the communists.
In the case of the World Athletic Championships slated to be held in Budapest in 2023, he said Karácsony had asked to delay deciding the matter until the end of the month. Orbán noted that the international federation was expected to reach a decision by Nov. 15, so he hoped the municipality would soon change its position on the issue.
On the topic of tourism, Orbán said: “Hungary now is a more Hungarian country than it used to be, which is why we have become more interesting to the world.”
Featured photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI