The migrant visa increases the threat of terrorist attacks; it increases the risk of acts of terrorism being perpetrated by people coming from migrant backgrounds such as the recent Strasbourg incident, Gergely Gulyás, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said at his press conference held on Thursday in Budapest.

According to the Minister, the decision of the European Parliament on the migrant (humanitarian) visa goes against common sense.

The government received the EP’s decision with disappointment, does not agree with it, and takes the view that it depicts a sad picture of the state of European democracy, given that the same proposal was rejected in the EP once before. A repeated vote involving “sham amendments” decided on it, and the EP’s pro-migration majority eventually adopted the proposal, the Minister said.

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In his view, the EP is seeking to make it easier for people who submit asylum requests, even if they do so irregularly, without being eligible for asylum, to come to Europe.

“We are opposed to all solutions which allow decision-making related to the refugee status in locations other than outside Europe”, he said in answer to a question.

Mr Gulyás also informed the press that the government offered its condolences to France and relatives of the victims in the case of the Tuesday Strasbourg terrorist attack committed by an individual from a migrant background.

On Wednesday, in addition to the government, the national security cabinet also had a meeting. They decided to reinforce patrolling services in Budapest as well as in all major cities around the country, and to deploy armoured vehicles at the venues of larger Christmas fairs. The cabinet made every conceivable effort to allow people to prepare for Christmas amidst calm circumstances and in safety, he told the press.

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The head of the Prime Minister’s Office also said that one of the important topics of the EU summit beginning on Thursday will be the seven-year EU budget, regarding which the government was disappointed to learn that the European Commission’s budgetary proposal is about migration and border management.

According to the Hungarian government, migration should not be managed. Instead we should finally clearly state that migration must be stopped, Mr Gulyás said.

In answer to a question related to Brexit, he said Hungary has a vested interest in a regulated British departure from the EU once British electors decided in favour of Brexit. If the European Council is able in any way to contribute to a regulated departure with an agreement, the Hungarian Prime Minister will evidently support that, he indicated.

Pensions will increase by 2.7 per cent next year

Pensions will increase by 2.7 per cent next year in the wake of the government’s Wednesday decision which was adopted on the basis of inflation data, Mr Gulyás said.

The Minister said the cabinet was also required to decide on the payment of pension premiums representing state expenditures amounting to HUF 41 billion in total, and an extra income of HUF 16,000 to 17,000 on average for every pensioner. He further observed that they are ready to adjust the pension increase later on should there be any changes in the final inflation data.

Mr Gulyás highlighted that in the spring the government was also able to support pensioners with Erzsébet Vouchers, and it is to be hoped that the government will be able to provide a similar benefit next spring should the Hungarian economy prove to perform well.

He also said that the salaries of nurses will increase significantly: they will have doubled between 2012 and 2019, and up to 2022 there will be another almost 70 per cent increase.

The head of the Prime Minister’s Office said regarding details that the pay of nurses will increase by 72 per cent in the next four years. The former pay agreement which lays down that salaries will be increased by 8 per cent in the last phase will extend to November 2019, but they will bring this forward to 1 July 2019. Following this, on 1 January 2020 there will be another 14 per cent increase, from 1 November 2020 a 20 per cent rise, and from 1 January 2022 another 30 per cent pay rise for nurses, he said.

According to his summary, by the end of the term nurses’ salaries will almost triple compared with 2012, meaning that in ten years their salaries will have tripled.

He highlighted that there will be a 30 per cent pay rise on average in central public administration from 1 January, and defence workers and the administrative staff of the police, too, will receive a pay rise. In their case, there will be “a 25 per cent payroll increase”, but in his view the average increase will exceed that.

According to Mr Gulyás’s information, on Wednesday the government requested the Ministry of Justice to prepare a proposal concerning a significant pay rise for all judges, in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and the National Office for the Judiciary.

The Minister said, it is to be hoped, that as a result the government will be able to address the current unfair pay situation of judges, and the country’s 2,800 judges will receive their pay on the basis of a new pay table from 1 January 2020, at the latest.

In answer to a question, he said the minimum wage, too, will increase next year; however, no decision has been made regarding its rate at this point in time. He underlined the government continues to guarantee that it will endorse the agreement of employers and workers regarding the increase of the minimum wage.

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Aggressive political activists took part in Wednesday demonstration in Budapest

At his usual Thursday press conference, the Minister said concerning the opposition’s actions in Parliament the day before – including the occupation of the Speaker’s seat and general rowdiness – that what happened in Parliament was sad and unprecedented. The whole of the opposition rendered itself ridiculous with its undignified conduct that endangered constitutional order.

However, the government-party majority preserved its own and the House’s dignity, and ensured the constitutional and lawful operation of Parliament, he stressed.

The Minister pointed out that no serious or genuine dispute could arise regarding the legality of the decisions adopted by Parliament, either in connection with the voting cards of MPs, or in connection with the Speaker’s seat. He observed that they did not use cards at all when Parliament functioned in the chamber of the Upper House. Voting rights are not attached to cards, but to Members of Parliament, he stated, and the House Rules do not require the Speaker to conduct sessions of Parliament from his usual seat.

Concerning the evening demonstration that was held in Budapest after the incidents in Parliament, he said the freedom of assembly is a fundamental constitutional right, but it can only be exercised peacefully and within the boundaries of the law. What happened on Wednesday was unlawful, the demonstration was attended by aggressive political activists and a fair number of “people on George Soros’s payroll”, and they were violent with the police which qualifies as a serious crime, he said, adding that the manifestations at the demonstration oozed open hatred for Christianity.

According to the latest data, the police apprehended 34 people, 20 of them due to breach of the peace, 5 for theft and 4 due to the violation of the assembly law, Mr Gulyás informed the press, and thanked the police for their proportionate and justified action.

He pointed out that 5 police officers had been injured.

Regarding the amendment of the Labour Code adopted on Wednesday, the Minister said, in contrast to the opposition’s claim, any overtime permitted by the law can only be performed with voluntary employee consent. The law does not allow more overtime than is customary in other European countries, he added. He also observed that any hours of overtime, beyond the normal framework of working hours, will have to be paid for monthly also in the future, and the rights of trade unions likewise have not been curtailed. In actual fact, they have been extended by virtue of the fact that any departure from the twelve-month overtime framework is only permitted in the case of a collective agreement. He said reports of the introduction of a six-day working week were a lie as well.

In answer to a question, he said, according to his information, the government did not have talks with any company regarding the regulation of overtime. In answer to another question, he pointed out that there is no genuine social protest regarding the matter. There is only major resistance on the part of the opposition which now does not even accept the fundamental rules of democracy, and the more its support base shrinks, the more aggressively it behaves.

From among Parliament’s Wednesday decisions, Mr Gulyás highlighted the adoption of the proposal on the establishment of administrative courts which should, in his view, be regarded as a major success despite political accusations, given that it was supported by the majority of the legal profession and academia. He stressed that the adopted proposal contains adequate constitutional guarantees, and does not provide scope for any kind of political influence. Administrative courts will function separately, but within the single judiciary system, he added.

In answer to a question as to which provisions of the House Rules allowed Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s two bodyguards to enter the chamber of Parliament, Mr Gulyás said the Prime Minister is a person under special protection, and as the opposition physically threatened the Prime Minister, it is hard to criticise the conduct of those whose duty it is to protect him.

He said in response to another question concerning the relocation of the Prime Minister’s staff to the Castle in Buda that there will be no obstacle to putting an end, as of 1 January, to “the bad communist heritage which forced legislation and executive power (…) into a single building”.

The Minister took the view, in answer to a question regarding the construction of the western section of the M0 express road, that it would be good to “close” the ring road, but a social debate must be conducted regarding its track. As there has been no such debate so far, he sought assurance that the annex to the planning law should not contain a specific track, he said.

In answer to another question, he said the new national curriculum may enter into force in September 2020.