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Is Budapest set to resemble Dubai? Controversial megaproject sparks concerns

1 min

The Hungarian government is poised to sign an agreement with the United Arab Emirates for the construction of an ambitious real estate complex in the capital, raising concerns from the city's mayor.

Budapest, the capital of Hungary © Mena Today 

The Hungarian government is poised to sign an agreement with the United Arab Emirates for the construction of an ambitious real estate complex in the capital, raising concerns from the city's mayor.

The project aims to revamp a nearly abandoned railway station and its surroundings at a cost of €5 billion.

According to a document released late Thursday on the Hungarian government's website, authorities will sell the land, located not far from the city center, to a private entity selected by the UAE "without conducting a tender."

In return for this "major investment," Hungary commits to carrying out infrastructure work "amounting to at least €800 million."

The nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban continues his controversial endeavor of large-scale projects that alter the city's landscape, including its UNESCO-listed historic center.

In December, Construction Minister Janos Lazar defended the project, referring to it as "maxi-Dubai" in response to media headlines that called it "mini-Dubai."

He insisted that the result would not be mediocre and that it would be an "internationally acclaimed" project.

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