“According to the experience of recent years, wherever a left-wing government takes office in Europe, pro-immigration politics begin appearing that are aimed at opening the borders”, Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás said at his regular Thursday press conference.

“The Italian Government has also opened the ports, which represents an invitation to many to come to Europe”, the Minister said.

“The incumbent European Commission wants to put the distribution of migrants according to quotas back onto the agenda, while they are refusing to transfer money to fund border protection”, he continued. “The Hungarian Government’s position is that it will not take part in any distribution according to quotas, but it is happy to help countries that are awaiting assistance with relation to transporting home people who are in Europe illegally and who have not been afforded asylum”, he underlined.

“Hungary will also be sending Ahmed H. back to Cyprus within a few days”, he highlighted.

Mr. Gulyás said that when the quotas were placed on the agenda, the attacks against Hungary also increased in strength, but despite the attacks Hungary will not change its policy of rejecting mandatory quotas and will be protecting the borders, not opening them.

The Government has decided to close nine Budapest underpasses and to keep homeless shelters open for longer hours and establish more places for the homeless.

Mr. Gulyás said the government decision on the homeless care system had been made following consultations with Mayor of Budapest István Tarlós. The Minister justified the closure of underpasses with reasons of public hygiene and the need to assure the homeless worthy dignified conditions, adding that a proposal will me put forward for the establishment of 130 new homeless shelter places.

The Minister also informed reporters that at its last session the Cabinet had reviewed the state of education with relation to the beginning of the new academic year. He emphasised that based on the 2020 budget the state will be spending an additional 645 billion forints (EUR 1.93 billion) on education compared to 2010. The Cabinet has also set as its goal that by September 2020 every primary and secondary schoolchild should receive their textbooks free of charge, meaning the government funding for the free school textbook programme will be increased to 14 billion forints (EUR 41.9 million) next year, double the 2010 figure.

Mr. Gulyás also spoke about the fact that the programme to enable schoolchildren to learn foreign languages abroad free of charge, and in which some 140 thousand students will be able to participate at the end of the school year, will also be launched during this academic year.

A further goal is for the new National Curriculum to be successfully introduced on 1 September 2020, which also requires that it be adopted before the end of this year.

With relation to free school meals for children, he said that 640 thousand schoolchildren are currently receiving free or subsidised school meals, and funding for this programme has increased to 83 billion forints (EUR 248 million).

With relation to reports published on the 444 news portal according to which opposition candidate for the position of Mayor of Budapest and current mayor of Budapest’s 14th district Gergely Karácsony can be heard talking about a threat from the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) on a leaked recording, Mr. Gulyás said: “If someone would like to know  what relations are like on the left-wing liberal side, it is worth listening to this recording”. According to the Minister, the state of affairs on the left resembles those in the mafia, of which Gergely Karácsony is also a party, and his attempt to explain the affair away is pathetic.

The head of the Prime Minister’s Office also said that Gergely Karácsony’s incompetence was already obvious to everyone, but will become even more obvious to anyone reading the latest articles.

“Everyone must obey the law”, the Minister said with relation to the fact that one of Gergely Karácsony’s campaign events was disturbed by a motorboat with a covered registration number.

With relation to the case of former Fidesz MP Roland Mengyi, who was recently sentenced to jail, Mr. Gulyás said: “We respect the court decision, and the party membership of Roland Mengyi is no longer valid”. He noted, however, that those who are “complaining” because of the alleged degradation of the rule of law can see that a former governing party politician has been duly fund guilty.

Concerning the fact that some of the public shouted “traitor” at a campaign meeting in Szombathely held with the participation of Fidesz MP Csaba Hende, the Minister responded: Csaba Hende did not use this expression, in contrast to the opposition candidate for the post of Mayor of Szombathely, András Nemény.

With relation to the price of the forint, Mr. Gulyás said it is good if the exchange rate has a certain level of stability, adding, however, that the government has no target exchange rate, and cannot in fact have one in view of the fact that monetary policy falls under the sphere of competence of the Central Bank.

On the subject of the Fidesz annual general meeting on Sunday, where the party’s officers are to be (re)elected, the Minister confirmed that three of the party’s four Vice Presidents, Katalin Novák, Gábor Kubatov and Szilárd Németh, will once again be candidates for the post. Mr. Gulyás, who is currently filling this post in Fidesz and has previously stated that he will be remaining in this position, could not provide information with relation to the fourth Vice President, however.

With relation to the Prime Minister’s statement on the state of the media in Hungary, the Minister said: “The state of the media is significantly more balanced in Hungary than in Western Europe”.

He also stated that pensioners will be paid compensation for the expectedly higher level of inflation in November, together with their planned, usual pension premiums.

The Minister welcomed the fact that a new terminal for cheap airlines will replace the existing corrugated iron building at Liszt Ferenc International Airport. “The goal is for passenger check-in and reception to be higher quality. The realisation of the airport rapid rail line will be a priority during the EU’s upcoming multiannual financial framework, and the decision concerning planning has already been made”, he added.

With relation to the fact that a court has awarded Roma children compensation as a result of alleged segregation at a school in Gyöngyöspata, Mr. Gulyás said: “The decision of the Curia (supreme court) must be awaited with respect to the case, concerning whether segregation did in fact take place”. “In order for Roma inclusion to be successful, all children must become involved in public education”, he emphasised. However, the Minister said that in his opinion it is important to note that in the period since 1990, effective measures aimed at Roma inclusion have only been made since 2010, and Roma unemployment has fallen significantly.