“The Government has replied in detail to the issues raised by Brussels with regard to the National Consultation”, Minister of State for Government Communication Bence Tuzson said at a press conference in Budapest on Wednesday.

The Minister of State explained that the official reply, which has also been published on the government news portal, firmly rejects accusations that the Consultation is anti-EU. “On the contrary”, he declared, indicating that Hungary has an interest in the establishment of a strong Europe based on strong nations working within a strong alliance.

“This requires the current distribution of spheres of competence between the EU and member states to not change fundamentally”, Mr. Tuzson stressed, adding that only those spheres of competence that are required to maintain and strengthen the European Union should be practiced jointly.

The Minister of State also told reporters that the number of people who have already sent in their national Consultation questionnaires has now exceeded 1.2 million. “The opinion of every Hungarian is important”, he stressed, calling on as many people as possible to voice their opinions on these vital national issues.

With regard to the points included in Hungary’s reply, Mr. Tuzson said “Brussels believes that energy prices go down if there is competition, while the Hungarian Government is arguing in favour of upholding the reduction of public utility charges”, explaining that electricity prices in the EU increased by 20 percent between 2010 and 2015, while gas prices increased by 25 percent during the same period, including a gas price increase of 72 percent in Spain and an increase of 50 percent in the price of electricity in the United Kingdom.

“These processes can only be stopped if we set an upper limit which energy prices cannot exceed”, he said, pointing out that energy prices in Hungary had fallen by 25 percent thanks to the legislation.

With regard to immigration, Mr. Tuzson took a stance in favour of maintaining transit zones and border protection. As he explained, the EU cannot make decisions that exploit loopholes in the fundamental regulations to bring migrants into the territory of the European Union using trickery. He also declared that the Government cannot accept the operation of organisations that are specifically working to weaken the European Union’s defence capabilities and promote illegal immigration.

With relation to the foreign financing of non-governmental organisations, the Minister of State said that although Brussels is concealing the fact, the transparency of NGOs was also raised at a meeting of one of the European Parliament’s committees, and they are planning the introduction of strict regulations. As an example, he mentioned that the organisations involved would be required to declare their financial status and submit a detailed report, including on with whom and on what topics they hold negotiations.

“The regulations before Hungary’s Parliament are far less strict and their only goal is transparency, meaning that the people of Hungary should have the right to know who is funding the operation of individual organisations”, he explained.

The Minister of State also highlighted the fact that Hungary would like to retain the right to itself determine its economic policy via tax policy. “It is not true that Brussels is not interfering in these affairs; the Hungarian tax system is under attack”, he declared, citing as an example the fact that the application of a total of three tax regulations was suspended by the EU in 2015. These were the advertising tax, the healthcare tax on the tobacco industry and the introduction of VAT on the internet.

“It is also not right that a foreign economy minister should ask for the European Commission’s opinion on whether Hungary’s low corporation tax constitutes a form of prohibited funding”, he noted.

Mr. Tuzson also said that the Government would protect its job-creation policies from attack, because the public work system contributes to achieving full employment.