The European Union should use all funds which it currently spends on immigrants for the protection of the external borders, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said at his Thursday press conference in Budapest.

Gergely Gulyás highlighted that it is an unacceptable practice that while the EU supports migration in a number of forms and provides financial assistance for integration, it did not support the protection of the external borders in the case of Hungary. The HUF 300 billion that Hungary has spent on border protection has come in its entirety from the Hungarian budget; the EU has not reimbursed a penny so far, he stated.

He said the protection of the external borders is key for security, and therefore Hungary is pleased that the suggested extra powers have been removed from the proposal regarding Frontex.

He observed that it is only right that every EU Member State is free to decide what to use certain funds for, but agricultural grants should not be used for the integration of immigrants. Agricultural grants are for farmers.

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The Minister said the people must elect a European Parliament and a European Commission which do not support immigration, but fight against it. Hungary rejects immigration and expects the EU not to support it, but to do everything it can against illegal immigration, he said. He added that providing funds for NGOs supporting immigration amounts to supporting illegal immigration.

Regarding the system of migrant bank cards, Mr Gulyás said a Syrian man suspected of having committed acts of terrorism was apprehended in Budapest. The man had a migrant bank card. Therefore, Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans would do well to reconsider whether the EU is on the right track when it provides funds for such purposes.

In answer to a question, he said they have not yet consulted with the delegation of the European People’s Party regarding a visit to Hungary, but it is likely to take place after the European parliamentary elections.

The Minister said in answer to a question relating to the assistance offered by the Hungarian government with the reconstruction of Notre-Dame Cathedral that the Hungarian State is ready to help if France identifies the kind of assistance it would welcome.

Regarding press reports that in 2007 agents of the Russian secret services conducted lie detector tests among Hungarian national security staff, Mr Gulyás said the documents disclosed to the public clearly prove that “an unprecedented act of treason” occurred. The fact that the secret service operatives of a non-ally state were smuggled into the Hungarian national security office is an act of irresponsibility and treason, he said. Mentioning Béla Kovács’s Russian spy scandal, he added that “it is no surprise” that DK and Jobbik found each other in the service of Russian interests.

He also informed the press that they met with the owner of the Ferihegy airport, and told them that the current situation that passengers are required to wait in shipping containers cannot continue beyond 31 December. He added that under the supervision of Minister of State Balázs Fürjes they identified 77 specific demands and made it clear that “it will be very difficult for the owners of the airport to make a profit if they provide services to such standards”.

It would be desirable if the airport was in state ownership, however, it would be hard for the Hungarian State to raise the approximately three billion euros the airport could cost, he pointed out.

He said they have been asking Wizzair for some time to provide daily services to Szeklerland, and if this requires state assistance they are open to negotiations.

The goal of the government is to minimise or to reduce to zero the number of rented private instruments and equipment in health care, and in order to achieve this the government will provide state funds, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office informed the press about the decisions of the government at his press conference held on Thursday in Budapest. Mr Gulyás also said the government will contribute to and finance the procurement of three thousand electric buses during this term.

Mr Gulyás said the elimination of arrangements similar to PPPs in health care is a priority, and it is for this reason that the Miskolc hospital will receive HUF 1.8 billion from the central budget for the procurement of two pieces of radiation therapy equipment necessary for oncological treatment. In answer to a question, he said that they are buying the equipment from the current owner.

In the Minister’s view, Hungary has managed to take a step forward in health care in the past few years, but further steps are necessary. The 72 per cent pay rise to be provided for nurses and health care workers during this term will serve this goal, he added.

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By his account, pay rises in the sector will cost the central budget HUF 35 billion this year, HUF 146 billion next year, HUF 233 billion in 2021 and HUF 423 billion in 2022. In the coming years, there will be 8, 14, 20 and 30 per cent pay rises, respectively, he said.

He added that they will also raise the salaries of physicians, about the rate of which the government will decide later.

He highlighted that since 2011 health care developments had been concentrated in the provinces. The task of this term is to raise the Budapest health care infrastructure to the level of the infrastructure of the provinces. The Healthy Budapest Programme will require hundreds of billions of forints, and the necessary funds are available, he said. He added that in hospitals in the capital developments worth HUF 700 billion will be carried out in the next few years.

In answer to a question he pointed out that Minister of Human Capacities Miklós Kásler identified the magnitude of the required funds in his proposal submitted at the Wednesday government meeting, but he also indicated that he is aware of the limits of the country’s economic capacity.

In answer to another question he said the Ministry of Human Capacities is engaged in talks with dentists who argue that the funding they receive – compared with the funding of general practitioners – is insufficient.

It would be ideal if both physicians and nurses had incomes that would do away with ‘gratitude money’, something that everyone has turned a blind eye to in recent times because health care has never been in a good enough state to achieve this, he said in answer to a question, adding that, at the same time, due to the changes that have taken place more recently, it would be important to start a social debate on this.

Mr Gulyás said on Wednesday the government discussed the proposal of Minister for Innovation and Technology László Palkovics regarding a bus strategy, the goal of which is to supply locally made buses in the largest possible numbers to transport companies and to change over to electric buses in public transport.

The government will contribute to and finance the procurement of three thousand electric buses during this term, he said.

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This also serves emission goals, and allows the reduction of environmental pollution in large cities, he added. According to the Minister, while electric buses are more expensive today, it is to be hoped that with the acceleration of local production prices will come down.

He said the goal is for Hungary to commission only electric buses in local transport in three years’ time. At present, an articulated bus costs approximately HUF 120 to 130 million, while a single-unit electric bus costs HUF 80 million, he said.

He added that charging stations will also have to be built for the operation of electric vehicles, and the government hopes that in the long run, with the completion of the new Paks block, electricity could become cheaper. In his view, with the commissioning of electric buses it would be possible to solve the problem that city transport companies are loss-making.

The Minister highlighted in answer to a question related to the moratorium on evictions that the case of foreign currency debtors must be clearly distinguished from the case of those who simply do not want to pay their bills. A continued ban on evictions would only reinforce the latter behaviour, he said.

In answer to a question he said the government will announce the details of the economy protection action plan which is necessary despite the fact that the Hungarian economy’s figures are positive, given that there are serious growth problems in the Eurozone.

Regarding reports that Gergely Karácsony, the candidate of left-wing parties for the office of Mayor of Budapest promised to distribute one thousand billion forints, the Minister said “we did not realise that Gergely Karácsony had that much left after the parking scandal”. He should explain why parking is loss-making in Zugló, he said, indicating that his promise cannot be seen as credible.

The Hungarian pension system functions as a pay-as-you-go system. At this point in time, the pension fund is sustainable, and this will remain the case until the mid-2020s. It is a major achievement that Hungary has managed to restore the balance of the pension fund, incoming payments cover pensions, he said in reply to a question.

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He also pointed out that former Mayor of Budapest Gábor Demszky and the socialists agreed to introduce the congestion charge in Budapest, Fidesz voted against it, and the government continues to oppose the idea. They would not like to impose a further burden on anyone.

He informed the press that there was professional as well as political consensus behind the case of the Miskolc children’s home. He said it is in the best interests of children to be raised in the smallest possible units because it gives them better chances in life if they are not together in large numbers and if these communities are divided into smaller units instead.

He said a ministerial commissioner will be responsible for the foreign language course programme abroad which will be coordinated by the Tempus Public Foundation. It is to be hoped that as early as the summer of 2020 students will have the opportunity to travel abroad to study languages.