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Gov’t Taking Away Three Prime Downtown Areas from Budapest, Karácsony Vows to Sue

Mayor Gergely Karácsony is up in arms at plans by the Hungarian government to nationalize three public spaces in downtown Budapest, reports HVG. The Mayor objected in a Wednesday Facebook post to capital-owned Frigyes Podmaniczky Square, Vörösmarty Square, and István Széchenyi Square becoming the property of the state without compensation.

The state plans to transfer these in September to the District V municipal government’s asset management holdings through Hungarian National Asset Management (MNV) Zrt. The suggestion was reportedly the brainchild of former District V Mayor and Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office head Antal Rogán.

Gergely Karácsony called the nationalization of the three “extremely important” spaces without compenation unconstitutional, and vowed to sue if such a law is passed.

In his post, the Mayor asked:

Anyway, why? Because District V is so bloody good at managing public property? Do they want to serve the hotel development plans of István Tiborcz’s business partner in Széchenyi Square? Or fatten the vendors in Vörösmarty Square? Or do they just want to show that they can do anything they want, and that not even property rights can stop them?

The District V Municipality responded to the Mayor’s comments in a statement released on Thursday:

The two squares in District V are maintained by the capital, but Gergely Karácsony is their irresponsible, careless owner: neglect, burned grass, dirt, and rubbish have been features of these popular public spaces for years, even though they could be impressive parts of downtown Budapest.

The municipality also noted that it had renovated Podmaniczky Square and Vörösmarty Square in 2019 with aid from the state, and that Fidesz District V Mayor Péter Szentgyörgyvölgyi had repeatedly told city leaders that the district would take over the maintenance of public spaces. [HVG]

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