The government is revoking its earlier decision which tied the commencement of studies in higher education to the existence of an intermediate language certificate, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office announced at the press conference Governmentinfo held on Thursday.

Gergely Gulyás said the introduction of the measure would have resulted in serious difficulties in some sectors. He mentioned as examples the training of nursery school teachers and higher education in the field of agriculture.

He added that also on this occasion there was no consensus on the revocation of the decision adopted six years ago.

Mr Gulyás said regarding the language skills of young Hungarians that they are at the bottom of EU rankings. He spoke about the measures which the government implemented earlier in the interest of the improvement of their language skills.

In answer to a question concerning future language certificate requirements, he said he does not see a chance for reinstating the requirement now lifted within a year or two.

Turkey is Hungary’s ally in NATO, and the most important ally of the whole of Europe in curbing migration, he said regarding the visit of Turkish Present Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Budapest.

Mr Gulyás added that Hungary seeks to achieve good relations with all its allies and all great powers.

The three million immigrants currently staying in the territory of Turkey would present unsurmountable difficulties for Europe, he pointed out.

He also said in the past year almost all of the EU’s important leaders have had talks with the Turkish President. The EU has agreed to support Turkey’s activities related to migration with major financial contributions, he recalled.

In answer to a question related to the next EU budget, Mr Gulyás said the majority of Member States take the view that the proposal submitted by the old European Commission which is still in office is not even suitable for further discussion. He was of the opinion that the differences are so great that an agreement is unlikely to be reached even during the Croatian presidency. In his view, an agreement could be reached during the German presidency as Germany could represent the strength that is necessary for inducing the parties to come to an agreement.

Hungary is an important flag-bearer of enlargement in Europe, he said, adding that the elected Commission President has already confirmed Olivér Várhelyi’s candidacy, and also reassured the government that the Hungarian commissioner will be responsible for the enlargement and neighbourhood policy portfolio. He is not aware of any change in this, he repeated.

Mr Gulyás described the debate regarding the euro as purely academic. Hungary agreed to introduce the common currency without a temporal limit, but at some point in the future, he recalled.

The Minister informed the press that Budapest’s new mayor had attended the Wednesday cabinet meeting; they hope that the capital will answer all as yet open questions within the shortest possible time. He added that the government also sincerely hopes that, despite the differences regarding political views and developments, there will be fair cooperation with the capital in the coming years.

He confirmed that the government regards a good many developments as important and valuable, but accepts that it is almost impossible to implement major developments in Budapest against the will of the mayor and the majority in the metropolitan municipality’s General Assembly, or that this would at least result in difficulties which would not make the efforts worthwhile.

He expressed regret due to the General Assembly’s position on the Liget Project; in his view, the outcome of the municipal elections is wrecking “the Western world’s largest cultural project”. He observed that the new building of the National Gallery would only occupy 1.5 per cent of the territory of Városliget (City Park).

Mr Gulyás said they are awaiting the metropolitan mayor’s answer regarding the construction of the athletics stadium by the end of November, while regarding health care, the government made it clear they are happy to talk to the Mayor of Budapest about important Budapest issues, even if they do not fall within their competence.

He added that health care falls within district competence, and also today there are more CT machines than districts. He said HUF 42 billion have been allocated to the Healthy Budapest Programme alone in next year’s budget.

In answer to a question concerning the decisions adopted by the metropolitan General Assembly, the Minister highlighted that the gap between the pre-election promises and the acts that followed the elections is enormous already after the first meeting of the General Assembly. The gestures that former Mayor of Budapest István Tarlós exercised have been discarded: For instance, the opposition has not been granted representation on the supervisory boards of metropolitan companies.

Additionally, he said it is “incredible and shameful pettiness” that the General Assembly does not categorise the two independent mayors who were, however, supported by the government parties during the election as part of the metropolitan opposition. The same people have come back who destroyed the city during Gábor Demszky’s mayorship once before, he remarked.

The statutory regulations are clear, and a new Budapest Law could only be a political product, he said explaining why the government does not support Gergely Karácsony’s proposal. He also said if the athletics stadium is not to be built in Budapest, the cabinet will look for a venue in the countryside. However, if the event cannot be implemented in the countryside either, then Hungary will have to cancel the hosting of the world championships.

Regarding the possible adjustment of the amount of the minimum wage that was fixed earlier, he said also to date the government has always accepted the amount agreed upon by the interest representations of employers and workers, and will continue to do so in the future as well. He added that based on the latest economic figures, the adjustment of the value fixed earlier is not necessarily justified.

He also informed the press that while no decision has been adopted yet, the government is planning to extend the tax of small businesses (kata), potentially by increasing the relevant limit. He added that the government wishes to eliminate tax-related abuses, but the rate of the tax will not be increased.

The government decided to support the raising of the funding of the health insurance fund by more than HUF 34 billion.

Mr Gulyás said the decision serves to achieve the goal that certain health care services should become more widely available. He mentioned as examples the application of preparations serving to treat breast cancer and small-cell lung cancer, the broadening of the range of therapies and the shortening of waiting lists.

He further told the press that before the end of November the government will debate a complex proposal regarding the funding of hospitals in order to prevent the regeneration of the debts of hospitals. There is a systemic error in funding, he said, stressing that unless they change this, the problem cannot be solved. He observed that, for instance, traumatology generates permanent deficits, while cardiology is well-financed.

The Minister further informed the press that the government will support the construction of a Mindszenty museum and conference centre in Zalaegerszeg from an allocation worth HUF 8 billion. He observed that the bids received in connection with the development are higher than planned, but the government will provide the necessary funding.

He added that the cabinet also supports the establishment of an integrated “head centre” at the University of Szeged, meaning the integration of the facial surgery, stomatology, ear, nose and throat surgery, head and neck surgery, neurosurgery and ophthalmology departments which currently operate in separate locations; they have allocated HUF 450 million for the preparations.

Mr Gulyás said the government supports the amendment of the public procurement legislation; they would like to see a clear distinction between the legislation applicable to EU funds and the legislation applicable to the utilisation of national funds. The practice of double checks implemented by the Prime Minister’s Office and the public procurement authority so far has slowed down procedures, and therefore the government believes that in the case of domestic investments coming under the effect of the public procurement law it is enough for the public procurement authority to provide verification, he explained, adding they hope that this will meaningfully accelerate projects.

There was a question concerning the fact that Momentum is supporting the liberal-party Romanian candidate, rather than the Hungarian candidate in the upcoming presidential elections in Romania. Mr Gulyás said experiences to date have shown that Romanian operatives tended to work under cover, even those who were of Hungarian origin. This is a new phenomenon, he said.

A minimum requirement regarding the representation of Hungarian national interests is that if there is a Hungarian party beyond the borders, Hungarian politics must support it collectively, he laid down. Anyone who supports a corrupt, liberal, non-Hungarian candidate against a Hungarian party should be ashamed of themselves, he added.

Mr Gulyás was also asked about the fact that the metropolitan municipality had suspended the preparations for the erection of a statue of St. Stephen in St. Stephen’s Park in the 13th district. The Minister said he would give the new General Assembly a chance to choose between St. Stephen and Marxist philosopher György Lukács.

In response to the suggestion made by the Mayor of Székesfehérvár that the 20 August state celebrations should be held in the countryside, Mr Gulyás said a debate could be held about taking one national holiday or another to locations in the provinces. For instance, the German Unity Day is celebrated in different federal states every year, he pointed out.

He also highlighted that the second economy protection action plan could be presented to Parliament in the first half of next year, similar to a further package of family protection measures.

In the context of the Győr mayoral election, he said “every resident of Győr is a potential candidate”. The Fidesz executive board will meet next week, and this issue is expected to be on the agenda, he added. He also highlighted that upon the departure of Mayor Zsolt Borkai, the Győr General Assembly will provide for his deputisation until the election of the new mayor.