The Hungarian Fudan story started four years ago
The leadership of the Hungarian central bank and Fudan University in China sat at the negotiating table in 2017, when it was first proposed that Fudan University, considered the 34th best higher education institution in the world by the QS World University Ranking, should have a campus in Budapest, but the public did not have knowledge. Embedded in the collaboration is an agreement between Fudan and Corvinus on a two-year MBA program leading to a double degree.
At the same time, in 2018, the Budapest Development Center launched an international design competition to dream of the Southern City Gate project, including the Budapest Student City – Great Market Colony and its surroundings. The aim was to create a new university district in North Csepel, on the Ráckeve-Soroksár Danube branch, on the southern Danube bank of Ferencváros, and in the Soroksári út area, where student accommodation will be built and sports facilities built for about 10-12 thousand students. The area was to be built according to the master plan of SNØHETTA.
Meanwhile, Mayor Gergely Karácsony also wanted to create a 100-hectare public park in North Csepel, which would have been the first step in the creation of the Budapest Forest – on the model of the Debrecen Forest.
This process was shattered by the presentation of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology by the Direkt 36 news portal. acquired at the beginning of April: on this basis, the Budapest campus of Fudan University would be built in the area of the Southern City Gate project. According to the document
the investment would cost HUF 540 billion, largely from Chinese loans, by Chinese workers.
Gergely Karácsony then stated that the agreement concluded in 2019 between the Ferencváros municipality, the capital and the government did not include the territory of Fudan, and if the student city is not built in its original form, then ready to blow the 2023 World Championships in Athletics in Budapest. The athletic stadium under construction is a stone’s throw from the planned location of the student city.
In April, Balázs Fürjes, Secretary of State for the Development of Budapest and the Metropolitan Agglomeration, held an index in journalism, then László Palkovics gave us one in an interview also stated that the campus of Fudan and the student city fit together and that the area of the student city will not be damaged, it will be built according to the original plans. The ITM minister literally told us that Fudan would not take land from either the public park or the student city.
After that, László Palkovics himself submitted at the beginning of May, a bill, the map annex of which shows in black and white that the student city planned for a larger area to the south is planned to be erected in the north, and Fudant in the south, with a much larger extent than planned.
Gergely Karácsony then announced that after the unsuccessful consultation with Palkovics, a consultation on the construction of the university would start, as Viktor Orbán had previously said that he could not start an investment in Budapest with which the capital did not agree. More than 30,000 people took part in the consultation, which took place from 4 to 13 June declared opinion: 94.3 percent do not agree that the student city should not be built according to the original plans, 96.9 percent reject the construction of Fudan in Budapest.
Meanwhile, the Ferencváros municipality renamed the streets lingering at the future site of Fudan: the Dalai Lama, the Uyghur martyrs, and free Hong Kong also “got” a street in the spirit of the message sent to China. Tens of thousands protested against the investment on Kossuth Square in the first weekend of June.
The government wants to hold a national referendum on Fudan in 2023, but it is too late, according to Mayor Krisztina Baranyi of Ferencváros, because by then the state and municipal property will be handed over to the Chinese university, so there is no reason to vote for it all. Therefore, IX. district and the Metropolitan Municipality is still local this year will launch a referendum, the result of which they hope is legally binding on the government.
Although Viktor Orbán does formulated in last Thursday’s Government Information that the people’s will, i.e. the referendum, will decide Fudan, a few hours after the briefing, he assured two bills related to Fudan University in support of the pro-government parliamentary parliament’s legislative committee. Based on these, on Tuesday, the parliament could vote on the fact that the (exchanged) plots along the Danube will be given to Fudan free of charge, so that the investment will be given priority in the national economy, and the maintenance foundation will be established.
(Cover image: The Budapest Student City, the Hungarian and Chinese with the participation of Fudan University in Budapest. Photo: László Róka / MTVA / Commission)