The next few years will probably be about whether Hungary will be able to preserve the independence it has gained since its accession to the EU, János Lázár, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said at the press conference Governmentinfo 88 which he held jointly with Government Spokesperson Zoltán Kovács.

EP resolution is left-wing political provocation

According to the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office, the resolution adopted by the European Parliament with respect to Hungary on Wednesday is “a left-wing political provocation, nothing more and nothing less”.

Mr Lázár said: a consultation mechanism will begin, Hungary will take part in it and will respond to all enquiries. “We are interested in a constructive dialogue, but they are asking for impossible things which we cannot and do not want to implement because they would be contrary to the best interests of the Hungarian people”, he said. He added: there will be issues on which cooperation is possible, but not on most of the issues.

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He reiterated: earlier Portuguese MEP Rui Tavares, too, had a go with a report condemning Hungary, and now György Soros managed to enforce his interests on the left.

He highlighted: the EP resolution also contains elements which the EU or the EP has nothing to do with, such as the calling upon of the Government to revoke the legal and physical border closure. We shall not act upon this as the security of the Hungarian people is more important, he stated. He added: the borders of the country must remain closed so that immigrants cannot move around uncontrolled and so that the country should be protected against illegal immigration with the fence and the legal border closure.

The Minister pointed out: the EP resolution raises the issue of the fate of the CEU, and according to the Government’s position, everyone is equal before the law and everyone must observe the law. At the same time, “the Government is generous” and is happy to engage in consultations even with those who do not want to comply with the law, he said. He remarked that the Government will meet its duty of also consulting with the European Commission on the matter.

He said: there was no proposal within the Government to the effect that the disputed legislation should be repealed.

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He took the view that every one of the procedures instituted against Hungary since 2010 has originated from “people who take pleasure in filing accusations”, and these accusations keep coming from the Hungarian left-wing parties. György Soros’s paid colleagues – of whom there are so many in Brussels as in an entire state – also helped with the wording of the EP resolution, he said. Mr Lázár pointed out: they fabricated the various items of the proposal, and conducted an enormous amount of lobbying. György Soros has major influence on the European left, in the European left-wing parties, he added.

Mr Lázár stressed: the resolution is a political declaration, and it is unprecedented that “there is a vendetta going on against Hungary” because it is not prepared to take in migrants, to open its borders and to give up border controls. He described the resolution of the European Parliament as an exertion of pressure, and said that “we have already seen this before”: the country is placed on the agenda from time to time.

Regarding the fact that MEPs from the European People’s Party (EPP), too, voted for the EP resolution, he said: there are many different kinds of people in the party, including left-wing ones. There is no parliamentary group in the EP or Commission leader who would not have been approached or contacted by György Soros’s colleagues in the past, he explained.

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The Minister further spoke about the fact that the next few years will probably be about whether Hungary will be able to preserve the independence it has gained since its accession to the EU. He highlighted: major debates are expected on relatively simple issues, such as who should live in Hungary, and who should determine this. According to electors, this decision must remain within Hungarian national competence, he said.

According to Mr Lázár, another big debate will be about who should say how much we should pay in taxes: Brussels or the Hungarian Parliament elected by Hungarian taxpayers. European internationalist forces would curb the powers of the nation states on a number of issues in favour of Brussels, he said.

The Minister also told the press that the border closure is working well, and the number of those who are able to cross the border illegally has decreased spectacularly. At the same time, he refuted allegations that electricity is conducted through the border fence. The installed signalling system poses no harm to human life, he stated.

The Minister said in evaluation of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s visit to China: the visit was yet another station for the aspirations which seek to enforce Hungary’s interests. Citing the Prime Minister’s words, the Minister reiterated: globalisation is in a state of transformation, the East has caught up with the West, and there is now capital, technology, development and economic strength not only in the West, but also in the East. From among the agreements concluded, he highlighted the closure of the negotiations related to the Budapest-Belgrade railway line, thanks to which the programme may be launched shortly, and the Hungarian State will benefit from the project, he said. He told the press: Hungary wants to become a Central-European centre, and is therefore implementing fixed-track – cargo and passenger transport – developments equally in the northerly, easterly and southerly directions.

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Mr Lázár said thanks for the returned national consultation questionnaires. As he said, the fact that one and a half million responded is a great deal of help for the Government because it is unable to win this struggle on its own.

Number of child births must increase significantly by 2030

The number of children born annually in Hungary must increase significantly by 2030, by as many as 30 thousand, from the current 93 thousand, Mr Lázár said upon outlining the Government’s goal.

To this end, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will announce a series of measures in the next few days, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office said, who mentioned among the expected measures the introduction of new provisions relating to the support provided for mothers, families and children as well as the supplementing of old ones.

He stressed: families must be supported in having more children, and according to the Government, there are yet more ways to provide help for families planning to have second or third children.

The Cabinet takes the view – in contrast to the views of some dozen EU Member States – that the decline in the number of children must be stopped through effective family support measures, rather than with migration, Mr Lázár said.

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There will be both staff increases and technical developments in defence forces

In consequence of the defence forces development programme Zrínyi 2026 approved by the Government, the number of officers and staff members will be raised in the Hungarian defence forces, and there will also be technological modernisation, first of all, by means of the procurement of transport vehicles, Mr Lázár said.

After the improvement of public security in Hungary, the defence forces, too, should be in a state that is fit for defending the country, he said.

The Minister announced: at the upcoming NATO summit, Hungary will pledge to increase its military expenditures from the current 1 per cent to 2 per cent to GDP by 2024 which will at that point amount to some HUF 1,000-1,200 billion, compared with HUF 400 billion at present.

He further informed the press that the Government heard a report on the reduction of VAT on foodstuffs, based on which experiences show that the reduction had positive effects: everyone benefited from these measures.

The Government will conduct consultations, he continued, regarding the sectors which are expected to be the drivers of the economy in the next few decades. In this context, the Government shares the position that there is more potential in agriculture than that which the country is currently able to realise.

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They decided on raising the Hungarian state pay supplements provided for those working in the health care, educational, social and cultural areas in Transcarpathia, he said, adding that the Hungarian State is making a major contribution to the functioning of Transcarpathia.

In answer to a question, he confirmed: a super hospital with one thousand beds will be built on the Buda side from an allocation of HUF 100-120 billion, and additionally, the existing hospitals, too, will undergo developments in the magnitude of a hundred billion in the next few years. The first elements of these plans are already featured in next year’s budget.

In response to another question about reports that the National Bank of Hungary is planning to scrap the Country Protection Fund worth HUF 60 billion from next year’s budget, Mr Lázár said: they will consider the National Bank’s proposal – the Government will repeatedly discuss the budget next Wednesday –, but at this point in time, he does not regard the criticism as well-founded.

In answer to a further question, he said: it is right that the National Tax and Customs Administration renounced claims worth more than HUF 637 billion last year. He said: we must forget about irrecoverable claims, and revenues must be increased instead, this is where the emphasis should be laid.

He said in reply to a question regarding the mandatory tips proposed by the hotel association: the tourism agency is considering the initiative, but in his view it is not certain that the mandatory service charge which has no traditions in Hungary would benefit every catering establishment.

He said in this context: we may expect one of the best seasons at Lake Balaton this year, and the reduction of the VAT on restaurant services may provide a solution to the shortage of work force as it may make funds available for pay rises. He remarked: they are increasing the police force operating at Lake Balaton, and the authorities are preparing for the season with great intensity.

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In answer to a question relating to the fact that he lost a lawsuit against Klára Dobrev, Chief Executive of Altus Zrt., Mr Lázár pointed out: once the judgement is final and absolute, he will acknowledge it and will consider whether he should turn to the Curia.

Mr Lázár commented as follows on the accusations of former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, President of DK, levelled against Viktor Orbán with respect to the Prime Minister’s finances: Ferenc Gyurcsány has for some time been a factor in Hungarian politics who cannot be taken seriously. Ferenc Gyurcsány’s wife holding press conferences should instead concern herself with her husband’s “deteriorating personality”, he said. He told the press: “I have no information of any kind regarding what the former Prime Minister is talking about”, and if he is in possession of some information, he should disclose it to the public and should present his evidence.

Regarding the MVM grants received by the Civil Union Forum CÖF, the Minister said: MVM’s money is the taxpayers’ money, given that it is a state-owned company, and consequently, the data in question is in the public domain.

In answer to another question, he said that he can only talk to Zoltán Spéder about private issues, he continues to maintain contact with him as a private individual, but never spoke to him about the fate of Index.

The Minister was also asked about the fact that the Momentum Movement “broke into” the editorial offices of Origo. Mr Lázár described the incident as shocking. As he said, “as far as I can see, they cannot control themselves”. “This is not what will lead to securing the electors’ trust”, he said.