Prime Minister Viktor Orbán expressed his expectations to members of his Government that Hungary must make it to the top 10 safest countries in the world, János Lázár, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said at the press conference Governmentinfo 94 which he held jointly with Government Spokesperson Zoltán Kovács.

The Minister cited the result of the latest survey based on which Hungary is now ranked 15 out of the 163 countries involved in the survey as regards safety, which he evaluated as a great achievement as this means that Hungary is now one of the world’s safest countries.

This confirms the work completed by the Government in recent years which has the security and the protection of the people at its centre, given that the state of public security was one of the most serious deficits of the period between 2006 and 2010, Mr Lázár said. He stressed that

the Government had completed its programme relating to the protection of citizens, and the number of crimes committed in the country had declined significantly.

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Regarding the protection of the borders, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office likewise highlighted the successful implementation of the programme, stating: only those European countries can be successful which are safe and secure, and the continent can only be safe and secure if it is able to protect its borders. He pointed out repeatedly that, in the view of the Hungarian Government,

migration should not be organised, but stopped.

According to Mr Lázár, the protection of the European borders will be the most important task in the next one year.

In addition to the reinforcement of the protection of the borders, the Minister further urged that the people heading for Europe should be vetted already in Libya. If immigration from the direction of Africa continues at the current rate, it will gravely affect the security of Europe, he said, adding that the security situation has already deteriorated a great deal in Southern-Europe.

In his view, there will not be a genuine improvement in the situation of Africa until Germany agrees to take part in the consolidation of the African countries as only Germany has sufficient money in Europe with which Africa could be truly stabilised.

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Mr Lázár was asked about the visit of the delegation of the Council of Europe to the transit zone. He said: Hungary is ready to present the systems it has created, is convinced of their legality, and is ready to face any investigation with a clear conscience.

The Government wishes to convince the body that the solutions implemented in Hungary are compatible with the relevant international agreements and European law, he added, indicating: the Government has made some changes on account of complaints relating to minors, and the State is providing for the individuals concerned.

Subsidisation of purchase of second-hand homes should be considered

Upon the evaluation by the Government of the family housing benefit (csok) in the autumn, they will also have to consider how the grants made available for the purchase of used homes could be increased, the Minister said.

According to Mr Lázár’s information, at present there are some 300 thousand used homes for sale in the country, and one half of these are in a state fit for moving in. He also indicated that 50 thousand new homes had been built in the past eighteen months.

The Minister said that there are ongoing consultations with municipalities, housing management agencies, architects and engineers as to how the Government could help the some one million people living in 570 thousand homes in breezeblock housing.

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He also told the press that thanks to the outstanding industrial production data in May, the increase in retail sales and the reduction of unemployment to below 4.4 per cent, expectations regarding future trends are also positive. He described the employment rate in excess of the European average as a major result, saying: more than two thirds of the population are now in employment, and support themselves from their earnings.

The Minister further reported: in contrast to the previous cycle, Hungary is at the forefront as regards the absorption of EU funds. Decisions have already been made regarding the utilisation of some HUF 6,100 billion out of the available HUF 8,921 billion, and HUF 2,700 billion has already been disbursed to applicants. This year alone there have been disbursements worth HUF 1,000 billion which has a major impact on the balance of state finances, he pointed out, remarking: the country’s finances are in order.

Government has decided on railway projects

Upon outlining the Cabinet’s decisions, he told the press: they have approved several major railway projects, and as a result, the railway lines between Százhalombatta and Pusztaszabolcs and between Budapest-Rákos-Hatvan may be completed by 2021-22.

They have additionally decided on the development of the railway connections of Békéscsaba, Hódmezővásárhely, Szeged and Szabadka to the total value of HUF 74.6 billion. As part of this, according to plans, they will connect Szeged and Szabadka together with a high-speed railway service, will modernise the railway line between Békéscsaba and Szeged, and will build an electric railway line between Szeged and Hódmezővásárhely, he informed the press.

The Government further decided on providing a wage supplement for 3,229 employees working for the business associations operated by the Ministry of Interior which is necessary on account of the minimum wage and the guaranteed wage minimum, he said.

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Upon mentioning further decisions, he spoke about the initiation of the amendment of the budget legislation: the goal is to have more stringent rules of settlement between the ministries and the Treasury as well as the Ministry of National Economy. He also mentioned a governmental allocation worth HUF 80 billion provided for Pest County for the purposes of regional development between 2014 and 2020, the fact that the affairs related to the construction of the Zalaegerszeg automotive industry test course have been declared priority public administration affairs, and the grants allocated to zoos and Protestant church communities beyond the borders.

The Government further decided not to grant ownership of the Hatvan hunting museum, but its use to the Hungarian National Chamber of Hunters, the Minister informed the press.

Hoarding campaign is not about Soros’s origin

The Minister was asked about the fact that András Heisler, President of the Federation of Hungarian Jewish Communities (Mazsihisz) asked Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to stop the „Soros” campaign in a letter because in his view the campaign is capable of inducing uncontrolled emotions, including anti-Semitic sentiments.

In his response, Mr Lázár pointed on the one hand that the Prime Minister sent a written reply to the President of Mazsihisz, and stressed on the other: the governmental hoarding campaign currently under way is not about the origin or identity of György Soros, but seeks to draw attention to the threat which Mr Soros represents on the issue of immigration, namely that the borders of Europe must opened up to immigrants.

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The Government is open to the opinions of those who feel that these hoardings violate their human dignity or feelings, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office said, highlighting: there may be some who may perceive the current hoarding campaign as overly aggressive, but there are others who do not want millions to flood Europe uncontrolled. He made it clear that every Jewish community in Hungary may rely on the protection of the Government which announced a policy of zero tolerance against anti-Semitism.

The Minister further said that, in his personal opinion, those who let illegal immigrants into Europe bring anti-Semitism into the continent.

The Minister answered in the negative the question as to whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to Hungary may be in jeopardy. As he said, this is a visit that was planned a long time ago, and described it as a forward-looking meeting which will serve to reinforce relations between the two countries.

World Aquatics Championships are of extraordinary significance in Hungary’s sports history

Mr Lázár asked everyone to support the upcoming World Aquatics Championships, indicating that the country has not hosted sports events on a similar scale in the past 100 years. Government Spokesperson Zoltán Kovács said in answer to a question concerning broadcasting rights: based on FINA’s expectations, the owners of the rights decide how to sell the images recorded at the championship venues. This is the case at every world event, from Formula 1 to the football world cups, he explained, adding: every press outlet may seek accreditation to attend events which are open to the press.

The Minister said in answer to another question concerning the super-hospital to be built in South-Buda: they had three plots to choose from in the suggested area, but if no agreement is reached between the owner and the State with respect to the most optimal site this week, they will have to go with plan B or C. In all three instances, the project is in the same magnitude.

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In answer to a question about the bankruptcy of Green Holidays, he said: the market has become much more regulated since 2000, and it is only necessary to review this area further if the Ministry of National Economy takes the view that there is a problem on the entire market and makes a proposal to that effect.

Mr Lázár dismissed news reports regarding the passenger figures of the Felcsút narrow-gauge railway as a political campaign of misrepresentation. In his view, no one would care about these figures if the railway line had been built elsewhere. The Government built or developed dozens of narrow-gauge railway lines, this is not a one-off case, and 20 thousand people bought tickets for the Felcsút line last year, in addition to children who travel free.

The Minister said in answer to a question related to the Budaörs lawsuit for damages: they have yet to receive the reasoning of the decision, and will consider whether to turn to the Curia. This is a one-off case, and so it is not suitable for drawing general conclusions, he added.

Mr Lázár was further asked about the fact that the organisers of Budapest Pride asked the authorities to be allowed to march in the city without cordons. He said in reply: the laws are clear, if the police proceed in accordance with the laws, they cannot grant this request.

Regarding the decision that, based on a government decision, HUF 90 million will be taken away from the area of social services and will be reallocated to the promotion of competitive sports, Mr Lázár said: this is the utilisation of a residual allocation, an interim regrouping of funds which is a technical issue. The social services sector will not only not receive less funding, but will in actual fact receive far more than before, he stressed.

In answer to another question, he said: the infringement procedure instituted on account of pharmacies having been kept in national ownership and in the ownership of pharmacists „is in its closing phase”, and according to the anticipated outcome, Hungary was right.

The Minister said in answer to a question concerning news reports that the business of Zsolt Hernádi and István Garancsi rents an apartment in the Buda Castle District from the Municipality of the 1st District way below the market price: “I’m very sorry for them that they would be in need of something like that”.