The government is expecting a period laden with debates in European politics as the causes of the identity crisis – which are brought to the surface by the re-intensifying phenomenon of migration – still exist, Csaba Dömötör, the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister said on Kossuth Radio’s programme ‘Sunday Paper’.

The State Secretary said they would like to achieve that Europe should be able to protect itself in the migration crisis and to strengthen its economy.

It would be desirable if the European Right also adopted these goals and found a way to renew itself. The European People’s Party itself will have to decide which way it wishes to proceed, and it depends on this choice which way Fidesz will then head, he added.

The European economy appears to be slowing down at this point in time which in itself will necessarily result in debates. “Whatever the year ahead will bring about, we are ready for the debates, but today the Hungarian economy rests on more stable foundations: Higher growth, lower debt and higher Hungarian ownership. This could count for a lot during the more turbulent periods ahead,” the State Secretary said.

Mr Dömötör also highlighted that environmental protection is a common cause which is above daily party-political battles, and it would not be desirable if it fell “victim” to them. He added that the opposition had recently appeared to seek to monopolise the cause of environmental protection. “The situation is that the government has been on the path of action for years: A tree-planting programme that had been unprecedented for decades started, the government has provided assistance with the energy upgrading of hundreds of thousands of homes, and the government has also provided grants for the procurement of electric cars,” he stressed.

He added that a new government action plan will be completed soon which will lay down that from 2022 public transport companies will only be allowed to procure electric vehicles, and will provide for the elimination of illegal waste disposal sites.

He highlighted that Hungary is among the 21 countries around the world which has achieved a growth in its economy while reducing its carbon dioxide emissions. “We would like to continue on this path, the strategy lays this down, among others,” he added, pointing out that the goal is to render 90 per cent of the country’s energy production carbon dioxide-free by 2030, and later they would also like to achieve full climate neutrality, but to attain this goal they will have to win a major debate.

The essence of this debate is about who will foot the bill at the end of the day. The Hungarian government believes that the largest polluters should; however, the Left takes the view that the burdens should spread across the entire spectrum. According to Mr Dömötör, this has different manifestations, such as the congestion charge or the carbon tax, but it is certain that they want families to pay the bill.

“We propose a different path, polluters should pay the bill instead, and Brussels should raise more funds for the purpose,” the politician stressed, adding that they would not like to see any reduction in cohesion funds, nor a rise in the prices of foodstuffs in consequence of climate policy decisions.

He added that, according to the government’s calculations, achieving full climate neutrality by 2050 would cost 50,000 billion forints.

The State Secretary also highlighted that the statements Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had made at his Thursday press conference in the context of health care developments indicated that health care was a strategic sector which the government was seeking to reinforce from several angles. They are taking steps to eliminate hospital debts, there is an ongoing pay rise programme in health care, and they are planning to refurbish hospital waiting rooms and wards.

He further pointed out that, compared with 2010, they are spending HUF 720 billion more on health care, and they would like this to be perceivable also in the facilities frequented by citizens.