In the second quarter of the year HUF 12,000 will be credited onto the accounts of households heating with gas or using district heating, János Lázár, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said at the press conference Governmentinfo 111 which he held jointly with Government Spokesperson Zoltán Kovács.

He also confirmed that pensioners will receive Erzsébet vouchers worth HUF 10,000 again in light of the fact that this is permitted by the state of the economy. The total value of this measure is some HUF 30 billion, and the Hungarian Postal Service will start delivering the vouchers in the next few weeks, Mr Lázár said. He observed that this is the third time pensioners are receiving Erzsébet vouchers worth HUF 10,000. “We are thinking in terms of a multi-generational country where everyone is responsible for everyone”, he said.

According to the Minister, opposition politicians who look down on and attack these measures look down on pensioners and those living in poor circumstances.

He also said that if the Fidesz-KDNP alliance wins the parliamentary elections again, women will continue to have the possibility to retire after 40 years in employment. Should the elections have a different outcome, the fate of this programme is uncertain.

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Common EU position on UN’s migration package is ruled out

Mr Lázár told the press there is no scope for a common EU position on the UN’s global migration proposal package which would open the Hungarian borders and would allow the organisation of immigration. The government does not accept this, fundamental conditions are not satisfied, he said, adding that the Hungarian proposals are perfectly clear. Olivér Várhelyi, the head of the Permanent Representation of Hungary to the European Union also disclosed them during talks regarding the document held on Wednesday in Brussels.

There are two documents before the world organisation, Mr Lázár explained, arguing that there is agreement on what should happen to refugees and Hungary observes all international conventions. At the same time there is no agreement on the issue of economic immigrants.

The UN effectively set out to organise migration, would deprive countries of the right to decide who should live in their territories, and would frustrate their obligations regarding the protection of their borders. According to the Hungarian position, this is a harmful approach: everyone has the right to live in peace and security where they were born, he confirmed. Migration does not benefit anyone: neither those who set out risking their lives, nor the target countries, the Minister highlighted.

He also reminded the press that the government requested the Constitutional Court to state its position as to whether, based on the provisions of the Hungarian Fundamental Law, it is possible at all for the state to surrender its right to determine who may live in the country. In the government’s view, prohibited border crossing is a grave criminal offence, and the UN cannot force its position on its Member States, Mr Lázár underlined.

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Regarding the economy, he said if the quotas must be implemented, the resources which are currently being allocated to pension increases, children’s meals and allowances for the needy will have to be re-allocated to care for migrants.

Government is committed to protecting Hungarian arable land

In response to the European Court’s decision on fake contracts, Mr Lázár stressed the government is committed to ensuring that Hungarian arable land remain in Hungarian hands.

He informed the press that, according to the European Court, the relevant Hungarian regulations currently in force are not compatible with European law. “We lost a battle here”, he said, indicating that the court’s decision would open the way for the acquisition of land in Hungary by foreigners and land speculation.

The Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said while they will respect the court’s decision, the Prime Minister instructed the Minister of Agriculture to prevent with all possible legislative means the acquisition by foreign private individuals or foreign businesses of Hungarian arable land on the basis of usufruct arrangements or fake contracts.

In 2010 some 600,000 hectares of land were in danger, and the laws enacted since have been able to protect them for eight years, he highlighted, pointing out that the government parties are the only credible political force which is able to provide that protection. He believes that one of the most crucial questions of the next few years is whether foreigners will be able to acquire land in Hungary.

The Minister also observed that the foreigners concerned who dispute the Hungarian provisions mostly demand compensation; the restoration of the former proprietary situation is not a realistic threat.

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János Lázár: I wanted to draw attention to consequences of immigration with Vienna video footage

Mr Lázár sought to draw attention to the consequences and effects of immigration with his Facebook video footage which was recorded in Vienna in connection with the immigration situation. The Minister said this after he had consulted with Austrian Federal Minister Gernot Blümel.

By his account, in a conversation conducted in a positive spirit he clarified with his Austrian colleague that his private visit to the Austrian capital on Tuesday does not in any way affect bilateral Austrian-Hungarian relations which are improving so radically that there is nothing that could spoil them. The Hungarian government has a vested interest in the genuine improvement of relations also during the period to come, he added.

The head of the Prime Minister’s Office said in the video footage he wanted to share his own experiences in one of Vienna’s districts. It was not his intention to offend the people of Vienna. He merely sought to draw attention to the consequences and effects of immigration which is not a phenomenon that is specific only to Vienna. Similar experiences await the visitor in Brussels and Berlin as well. The footage was intended as an appeal to Hungary, the Minister said. He wanted to show people that it is a matter of choice what Budapest or other big Hungarian cities will be like.

There is still a chance on 8 April for Hungary to avoid becoming an immigrant country, Mr Lázár said.

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European Commission published a political statement

Regarding further topics of the cabinet meeting, the Minister informed the press about the Jászberény bypass and the Miskolc Y Bridge. The latter will cost minimum HUF 10 billion and will ease bus and railway transport in the centre of Miskolc.

In response to the European Commission’s country report, the Minister said the Brussels body has unwisely chosen to meddle in the Hungarian election campaign. The government believes it is an unfriendly move on the part of the European Commission to issue political statements in the midst of an election campaign; not even mentioning the fact that the authors of the report are Fidesz’s political opponents, he said.

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Mr Lázár said in response to reports that the chief clerk of the municipality had been fired in Hódmezővásárhely that the elections are over in the city, and he therefore appeals to everyone to attempt to cooperate. We must accept, he said, that the new mayor elected with the opposition’s support wants to change things: this is the consequence of the electors’ decision.

He observed the chief clerk had served Hódmezővásárhely for decades and everyone, regardless of party affiliation, held her in high esteem. In his view, it is not humane that she was fired from her job during her illness.

Regarding the fact that MSZP-Párbeszéd demanded the convening of Parliament in the interest of the reinstatement of the 13th monthly pension and the reduction of household utility bills, the Minister said Gergely Karácsony, candidate for prime minister of MSZP-Párbeszéd was advisor to the government which did away with the 13th month pension, and his initiative is therefore hardly credible – similar to the initiative regarding the reduction of household utility bills as there was no energy price reduction before 2010.