The Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office finds it unacceptable that the European Parliament will repeatedly vote on the migrant (humanitarian) visa. In light of the fact that the proposal has already been rejected once before, this procedure is anti-democratic, Gergely Gulyás said at the press conference Governmentinfo.

Mr Gulyás highlighted that the issue will be presented to the EP without genuine alterations, with mere window dressing amendments, and it seems they will continue trying until MEPs reach the answer which the supporters of migration believe to be the correct one. He observed that while Hungary and other countries are making enormous efforts to protect their external borders, with the migration visas masses of people may come to Europe.

According to the Minister if someone takes the rules of democracy seriously, decisions must be honoured and respected. However, today the EP does not even honour its own decisions. The greatest challenge of the 2019 elections will be for a majority to come into being within the EP which rejects illegal immigration, he said.

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Mr Gulyás also said it is to be hoped that the definition of migration and the pro-migration policy which are present in the UN’s global migration compact will not become part of international law.

He highlighted that as ever more countries are deciding – similar to Hungary – not to sign the compact, it is to be hoped that the Hungarian government’s position which seeks to stop illegal immigration will remain tenable.

Regarding former Prime Minister of Macedonia Nikola Gruevski’s case, the Minister said no one supplies him with daily reports on the former Macedonian premier’s whereabouts. Mr Gruevski does not receive personal protection, he is entitled to the services that are provided for refugees under the law, he said. He added that

Mr Gruevski is free to move in the territory of the EU

as he has been granted refugee status. He also said that Hungary has not violated a single country’s sovereignty, and had nothing to do with the former Macedonian Prime Minister’s departure from his country. The Minister pointed out that, based on the relevant regulations, upon the issuance of an extradition request, the refugee status is automatically reviewed.

Mr Gulyás said in answer to a question concerning the extradited Russian arms dealers that this is the re-heating of a case that was closed weeks ago. The court examined the conditions for the extradition of two Russian nationals, and decided that both of them can be extradited to Russia or to the United States. The Justice Minister decided to extradite them to Russia because they are Russian nationals, he explained. He said by doing so they fully complied with all relevant international agreements and honoured Hungary’s international obligations. At the time, the Justice Minister informed his US counterpart directly, he added.

The Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said they have not yet received information from the EU regarding the migrant bank cards,

but this is not unusual given the brevity of time

. They are, however, waiting for an answer.

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Regarding the fact that George Soros and Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, had talks, he said Mr Timmermans seeks to serve in the office of second-in-command on the Commission – which is supposed to be a party-neutral office – whilst being the lead candidate of the Party of European Socialists (PES).

The Minister said in answer to a question relating to the CEU that the deadline of 1 December is not laid down in a single law, but an agreement cannot be ratified in such a short time anyway.

Hungarian employment figures are promising

The government has welcomed the latest Hungarian employment data, the Minister said at the press conference held during the break of the cabinet meeting. Mr Gulyás said the government is happy to conclude that Hungary has managed to reach a record level of employment which was previously believed to be unattainable, and that

today more than 4.5 million people are in employment in Hungary.

The Minister also told the press that at the cabinet meeting the Finance Minister had informed members of the government about the competitiveness report. Mr Gulyás indicated that they had only just discussed elements of the action plan designed to improve competitiveness, and a decision on these is expected in the first half of next year. He said this is the first time since the fall of communism that, according to the latest employment data, 4.5 million people are in employment in Hungary, 57,000 more than a year earlier. He stressed that these statistical figures only feature those who worked and paid taxes in Hungary.

Mr Gulyás also said that the unemployment rate had fallen by 0.3 per cent to 3.7 per cent compared with a year before. The number of those working in public works programmes has also fallen, and the country has a work force reserve of 360,000. On the whole, these figures show, he highlighted, that the employment rate which stood at just 56 per cent in

2010 has risen to 70 per cent.

Regarding the planned changes in the regulation of overtime, the Minister said the government will only support an amendment which guarantees that overtime can only be performed within the present regulatory framework with employee consent. Also today the current regulations provide sufficient protection for employees should they say no to overtime, he stated. He said the government does not approve of the settlement of overtime beyond a period of one year.

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Mr Gulyás further informed members of the press at his press conference that from January pensions will increase by 2.7 per cent. He said the government continuously keeps track of inflation data, and will make an adjustment should the need arise.

Regarding the debts of hospitals, he said the government is ready to settle the entirety or a part of the accumulated debts if hospitals conform to the condition of “prudent management”. “In every instance we would like to investigate whether the requirements of prudent management have been observed – and we would also like to see personal consequences should we find they have not – as we are talking about taxpayers’ money”, he said. In answer to a question concerning Honvéd Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, the Minister said it is the duty of the State Secretariat for Health Care to organise care. “The government expects the State Secretariat for Health Care to ensure that health care services are provided to high standards everywhere. As to how and in what form this is done is a matter that falls within the competence of the State Secretariat”, he said.

Mr Gulyás said that the government had discussed the

Hungarian Village Programme

and had adopted important decisions in connection with it. Government Commissioner Alpár Gyopáros will provide information on details of the programme in the countryside on Sunday.

Regarding the issue of declaring 24 December a bank holiday, the Minister said that, pursuant to the government’s latest decision, Good Friday had been made a public holiday, and each public holiday is a loss for the economy. Therefore, “we would call for some understanding in the context of further demands”.