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PM urges quick council decision on state investments in capital

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán pressed the new municipal council of Budapest to take decisions on state-funded investments in the capital as soon as possible in his regular interview on public radio on Friday, as reported by state news agency MTI.

"The important thing is for the [Budapest] municipal council to take a decision as soon as possible," said Orbán on government-controlled Kossuth Radio. "Iʼve asked that they to do this with a view to the fact that we have international commitments, especially with respect to world sporting events."

Gergely Karácsony, who was recently elected mayor of Budapest with the support of opposition parties, has said he will veto construction of more state-funded stadiums in the capital. He has also said that the City Council will cease issuing building permits for the Liget Budapest project, a museum quarter planned by the government in the capitalʼs City Park.

Hungaryʼs government has reiterated its commitment to undertaking these investments, but said their implementation depends on the unequivocal support of the local council.

Orbán claimed that the stand of the council puts the fate of three stadiums in the capital in question: the Bozsik Stadium, a UEFA category 4 stadium under construction in District 19; an athletics stadium purposed to host the 2023 IAAF World Championships; and a stadium for the European Menʼs Handball Championship, which will be hosted by Hungary and Slovakia in 2022.

"If the new city leadership does not want Budapest to be among the sports capitals of the world, a clear decision has to be taken and the government will adapt to this situation," the prime minister said. He added that while he would not like to "tear down" any projects in the capital, he acknowledged that a decision by city leaders could mean that some state-funded investments "will not materialize, or will not materialize in Budapest."

District mayor assures locals of stadium support

Meanwhile, MTI reported that Socialist Péter Gajda, who was elected District 19 mayor with the backing of opposition parties in the municipal elections earlier in October, has said he supports the construction of the new Bozsik Stadium.

Responding to a query by the head of football club Budapest Honvéd, which would make the new stadium its home, Gajda said he would continue to support the project.

"Neither I nor the new leaders of the capital have any intention to take any measure against the stadium which is already under construction," Gajda vowed in a letter posted on the clubʼs website on Thursday.