The Hungarian government continues to reject the distribution of migrants in the European Union on the basis of any quotas, Gergely Gulyás, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office stated at a press conference held on Thursday in Budapest.

The Minister said the distribution mechanism under quotas which has re-emerged time and again in recent weeks is “a last desperate attempt” of the departing Commission to partially cover up its own failures in the eyes of those who see the distribution of migrants on the basis of quotas as a positive idea.

He stressed that Hungary can only support “removal quotas” at most, and is prepared to take part in such a scheme.

The Minister informed the press that, based on the government’s decision, they would make available another HUF 2 billion for the car purchase benefits of large families. He said so far almost 16,000 persons had submitted applications for the car purchase benefit, and this is the reason why it was necessary to allocate another HUF 2 billion for the purpose. So far almost 9,000 decisions have been adopted to the total value of HUF 2.1 billion. At the same time, they are behind with the disbursement of funds, and therefore the government is seeking to accelerate this process.

Mr Gulyás said so far more than 40,000 applications had been submitted for the baby expecting support, and there are already some 30,000 concluded contracts. The total contracted amount is HUF 285.5 billion so far, while the average amount requested is HUF 9.6 million, he said. He also informed the press that 9,200 applications had been submitted for the reduction of mortgage loans, and almost 1,500 applications for the village housing benefit ‘csok’; in the case of the latter, the average amount of the applications accepted is HUF 7.8 million.

Mr Gulyás stressed that the budget is stable, and the better-than-expected economic growth figure ensures that there is sufficient money available for the family support decisions adopted during the year.

In answer to a question concerning the upcoming municipal elections, the Minister said he expects a “confident” victory for current Mayor István Tarlós in Budapest. He took the view, in response to a question relating to the debts of the Zugló municipality, that there is an irreconcilable contradiction between Zugló Mayor-opposition candidate for Mayor of Budapest Gergely Karácsony’s words and deeds, and this again is proof of the fact that he is unfit for the job.

Commenting on Mr Karácsony’s election promises – claiming that he will take hospitals back into municipal operation, will impose a new tax and will veto state sports projects – the Minister said Budapest does have the right to levy taxes, but beyond that most of Gergely Karácsony’s promises cannot be realised, given that they do not fall within the competence of the metropolitan municipality. Mr Karácsony is either not aware of this or wants to deliberately mislead electors, he observed.

Regarding the fact that MSZP is not initiating an investigation in connection with the video recordings featuring local Kispest politicians, Mr Gulyás said this is a continuation of the process which one may have observed in connection with the recording of the telephone conversation featuring Gergely Gulyás. “In circles where people threaten and bury one another, such minor cases of corruption do not merit a separate investigation,” he said.

Mr Gulyás concluded that the assumption that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had recently made it clear both in Miskolc and in Gödöllő that the cities would only receive money from the government if they elected pro-government mayors was “a deliberate misinterpretation” of the Prime Minister’s words. In this regard, the Minister stressed that today it is not the government that does not look upon municipalities as partners; in actual fact, there are political forces which wish to occupy “war bridgeheads” against the government, and regard the upcoming municipal elections as an opportunity to “occupy positions and territories” in advance of the 2022 general elections. “It is not the government that is lacking in partnership; instead the political forces campaigning against us clearly want to fight against the government,” he said.

Regarding the fact that the quantity of incomes earned by foreign workers in Hungary has increased, the Minister said Hungary issues maximum as many work permits to foreign workers as many unfilled jobs there are in the country. The amount earned by them has not increased dramatically, he said in conclusion, but only to the degree to which wages in general have increased in Hungary. He stressed that most of those applying for work permits are Hungarians.

The Minister was queried about the business relations Pál Nemes, Fidesz’s candidate for mayor in Szeged maintained with József Oltványi who is accused of mismanagement as a former executive of the company Szeviép. He pointed out that the Szeged candidate of the government parties had never been criticised due to his business activities, and his contract had nothing to do with the Szeviép scandal involving the municipality.

In answer to a question concerning the debts of hospitals, the Minister said the debts can be paid off after thorough investigations, and in some cases, after the enforcement of personal consequences. The goal is to ensure that this is the last year when such a situation arises, Mr Gulyás added, taking the view that after exploring the reason for the accumulation of debts, the managers of the institutions concerned should also be held accountable.