Climate protection is important, but the people cannot be made to pay for it, Government Spokesperson István Hollik said on Thursday evening on the public service television news channel M1.

He said the Hungarian government agrees with the climate protection goals, but we need realistically feasible plans to ensure that the price is paid by the countries and companies that are responsible for most of the pollution, not by poor people. Foodstuff and energy prices cannot increase, while the EU funds which serve cohesion purposes cannot decrease in consequence of the fight against climate change. At the same time, carbon neutrality and cheap energy are inconceivable without nuclear energy, and therefore attacks on the Paks project must stop, the government spokesperson said.

He stressed that Hungary has undertaken to render 90 per cent of its energy production carbon-free by 2030, and it will be able to deliver upon this pledge. Its carbon emissions are already way behind those of the countries most responsible for pollution. However, according to Hungarian calculations, the goal of full carbon-neutrality set by the EU for 2050 could require investments worth HUF 50,000 billion which would cost every Hungarian HUF 170,000 every year. Mr Hollik pointed out that this is not fair.

Regarding the next seven-year EU financial framework, the government spokesperson said the Visegrád countries (Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary) are not prepared to accept it in its present form; as expected, a decision on the budget could only be adopted next autumn.

In answer to a question – concerning the Gothár scandal – as to whether they expect the director of Katona József Theatre to resign, the government spokesperson said in this situation there is no other alternative. The Gothár scandal showed that while the government finances theatres, in the capacity of operator it has no say in their operation. Also in this respect, this sexual harassment case cannot be left without consequences, Mr Hollik stated.