The Government is extending the state of crisis caused by mass immigration with respect to the entire territory of the country by six months, János Lázár, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said at the press conference Governmentinfo 80 which he held jointly with Government Spokesperson Zoltán Kovács.

The Minister said: they have decided on the prolongation of the state of crisis until 7 September. This is necessary because some 800 thousand people are stuck in the Balkans region who are unable to return to Turkey.

He stressed: the reinstatement of immigration detention and the reinforcement of the border are connected to this circumstance. He reiterated: the Cabinet allocated HUF 38 billion for the purpose last week. From this amount, the construction of the second fence to be completed by 1 May will cost HUF 28.4 billion. The reinforcement of the fences of the transit zones at Röszke and Tompa will cost HUF 9.4 billion, and the two transit zones will accommodate some four hundred persons for the purposes of immigration detention, he detailed.

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Mr Lázár said that the second fence along a stretch of some 150 kilometres on the Hungarian-Serbian border section will be built in such a way that cameras, thermal imaging cameras and other technical devices will also facilitate the guarding of the border.

He said that seven hundred prisoners are taking part in the construction of the fence, and with the expenditure of the current project amounting to HUF 38 billion, the cost of the fence erected on the southern border section will rise to HUF 284 billion in total.

He told the press that the National Office for the Judiciary will receive HUF 295 million for the fulfilment of its excess responsibilities, while HUF 76 million will be allocated to the Ministry of Human Capacities.

He added that the Ministry of Defence will require additional funds for the construction of border guarding bases, security guarding responsibilities, the procurement of IT equipment and payments to personnel, which may amount to as much as HUF 10 billion.

He also told the press that, according to the legislation approved by the European Commission on 16 February, everyone, including EU nationals, will have to be checked on the external borders of the EU. Border controls involving the checking of every individual will be reinstated on the EU’s external borders, he said in evaluation of the contemplated measure, indicating that there are 20 days for its implementation.

The Minister said: EU nationals will have to be checked the same as those who are not nationals of the EU, their personal documents will have to be verified in the international IT system, and those who may pose a potential threat will have to be filtered out.

Mr Lázár indicated that there may be considerable waits – backlogs of traffic for up to 8 to 10 hours – on the border as a result, and the Government can only enforce this measure as long as it does not cause undue social damage.

He further highlighted that the European Council and the European Parliament agreed on the adoption of new regulations on 22 February which will enable Ukrainian nationals to enter the EU without a visa. According to plans, Ukrainian nationals who hold biometric passports will be able to enter the EU without a visa, he said.

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Strong nation states are required in EU, V4 believe

The Minister informed the press about the summit of the Visegrád countries held in Warsaw on Thursday where they adopted two documents: one about the future of Europe, while the other one is related to double standards regarding the quality of foodstuffs.

He said that there will be an EU summit on 25 March in Rome on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Union where the future of Europe will evidently be on the agenda. According to the Visegrád countries, there is a need for strong nation states, strong countries in the EU, he stressed.

The V4 also consulted with respect to the 2020 budgetary affairs. The Government is intensively preparing for the debate on the budget, and in this, it will be an ally of Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, he said.

Mr Lázár highlighted that the V4 will jointly appeal to the European Commission in order to ensure that consumer interests are protected by law. They seek to impose the obligation on traders to supply information to consumers on an ongoing basis with respect to the quality of the products they purchase and whether there is any difference in quality between the products sold in Hungary and in the western part of Europe, he said.

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Hungary protests against discrimination, he stressed, adding that large multinational corporations dump „food industry rubbish” on Central-Eastern-Europe, and manufacture their products to two different standards in terms of quality.

Mr Lázár further reported that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will meet with the group leaders of the parliamentary parties on Monday morning in order to inform them about the Hungarian position before the EU summit.

The Minister was asked about the national referendum questions submitted by LMP in connection with the enlargement of the Paks atomic power station. Mr Lázár said in summary that small parties in Hungary have „a visibility problem” today. If the elections were held today, LMP would not gain seats in Parliament, and quite evidently, they should do something spectacularly big in order to become visible, he said.

The Minister took the view that this is an issue on which the people already cast their votes in the 2014 general elections. LMP did everything in its power at the time to make this project the most important decision-making criterion, he said. He added: the Government laid its cards on the table, and LMP, too, had a chance to state its case before the legislature. This does not take away LMP’s right to initiate a referendum though, he remarked.

Mr Lázár laid down: the Hungarian State had few more transparent projects than the atomic power station project. In his view, the referendum initiative is a political campaign, it is not about the atomic power station, the same as that the initiative of the Momentum Movement was not about the Olympic Games.

In answer to a question, the Minister said that the so-called super-hospital that will come into being following the merger of the Miskolc city and county hospitals may expect considerable funding. He further told the press that they would like to start the Budapest super-hospital project during the present term of government.

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Further measures encouraging families to have more children expected

The benefits available for child raising and the births of more children may change already in the short term, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said, informing the press: the Cabinet is preparing a demographic programme extending to 2060. Mr Lázár added: this programme will also include measures for the reduction of deaths, the reinforcement of the system of education and the assessment of the situation of Hungarian workers in the EU.

The Minister pointed out that the target is to increase life expectancy upon birth by some five years by 2030: to 85 years in the case of women and to 80 years in the case of men. He further reported that the effects of the measures implemented to date with a view to encouraging the births of more children were perceivable already last year: more than 93 thousand children were born.

As he said, the Government heard the relevant reports of the Minister of Human Capacities and of the State Secretaries concerned, including a report on the findings of a youth research survey in which 8 thousand young Hungarians were interviewed.

The economic and the strategic cabinets will make proposals regarding the required measures, but as he highlighted, the Government has ambitious goals. For instance, they seek to reduce the current annual mortality rate of 126,000 to 115,000.

Government window construction programme to be closed

Properties whose owners were born more than 115 years ago according to the title deeds may be transferred to state ownership. Mr Lázár said: this measure is necessary to facilitate the utilisation of properties in residential areas and of agricultural land. In these cases, the district offices would attempt to track down the owners or heirs in announcements, and they would have the possibility to institute supplementary estate proceedings. The properties will be transferred to state ownership if no one comes forward to claim them, Mr Lázár said.

He added: properties in residential areas would be handed over to the municipalities concerned, while in the case of properties in undivided joint ownership, the co-owners would be given the possibility to buy the shares of the deceased. Mr Lázár said: out of the more than 18 million real estate register entries, almost 1.9 million are in some way erroneous, for instance, the entry relating to the owner is incomplete. He said: there are 13 thousand title deeds according to which the owners were born before 1896.

He further reported: the government window construction programme will reach its completion on Friday in Szigetszentmiklós with a ceremony to be attended by the Prime Minister. As a result of this programme, 262 government windows were opened in 297 districts in total. The reduction in the costs of administration implemented so far represents savings in the magnitude of some HUF 14.5 billion annually for members of the public, he said, stating at the same time that bureaucracy is still high and there are still too many bureaucrats, and therefore the Government will have to consider further measures.

The goal of the Cabinet is to increase the percentage of wooded areas from 20 per cent to 27 per cent, Mr Lázár said in connection with the concept of the new forest legislation, about which they are still engaged in consultations with the Chamber of Agriculture and private forest owners.

He also told the press that a national programme will be launched with a view to the replacement of soy, in order to banish genetically modified foodstuffs from the country. The purpose of this programme is to replace the soy that is imported into the country as animal feed.

In answer to a question concerning the speech delivered by the Prime Minister before the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Lázár pointed out: Mr Orbán finds it important that no parallel societies and cultures should emerge in Hungary, and that, with this in mind, there should be no resettlement of migrants to Hungary. The homogeneity that characterises Hungary lends an additional value to the country, and the countries with parallel societies will lose some of their competitiveness, he said expressing his view.

We wish to preserve our cultural and ethnic homogeneity, he stressed, denying that the Prime Minister’s speech was aimed against the Roma. Mr Lázár criticised the idea of the basic income, as well as the European left which, in his view, campaigns by making the people believe that they can get money without work. The Minister said: it is a matter of principle that any income should be tied to work.

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Regarding the expenditures of the Puskás Stadium, he said that the Government had approved HUF 190 billion, gross, for the project. Following the open, international tender, the cheapest bid amounted to HUF 190 billion plus VAT, he said. He highlighted: the Government may give the project the go-ahead up to a maximum deviation of 15 per cent without the involvement of a forensic expert. As the deviation was 5.8 per cent, they accepted the bid.

He also said that the Government supports KDNP’s proposal to the effect that there should be no scope for selling properties at auctions below the valuation price.

Signatory to contract, former Mayor of Budapest is responsible for metro line 4

Concerning metro line 4, he told the press that the European Commission will make OLAF’s official report available to Hungary on 17 March as expected. The Metropolitan Municipality and the Government will have 60 days to state their position, he said. The Minister added: immediately after the closure of the dispute, as anticipated, the Hungarian State will be required to repay HUF 59 billion, whose duty it will be to collect this sum from the Metropolitan Municipality. He indicated that they will attempt to help Budapest so that the residents of the capital should not sustain perceivable losses. It will be after this procedure that the funds could be reclaimed from the contractors, he said. According to the Minister, responsibility lies with the signatory to the contract, the former Mayor of Budapest.

He further reported that, at the invitation of the brewery producing the beer under the brand name Csíki, he will visit the company which he would like to help.

In the context of the György Lukács statue which is currently in Szent István Park in the 13th district, the Minister was asked as to whether there is any room for statues paying tribute to blood-thirsty communists in Budapest. According to Mr Lázár, there is not. He remarked that, in terms of content, he always sought to avoid the oeuvre of György Lukács.

Regarding the EU project implemented in Izsák, he said that, in the wake of a report, he ordered the institution of an irregularity procedure. The on-site inspection has already taken place, but the procedure is still ongoing.

The uncut version of the video recordings made at the event can be downloaded in the Press Room.