“The quota system has failed”, Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office János Lázár said at the Governmentinfo 99 press conference, explaining: member states accepted only 29 percent of the numbers prescribed by the European Commission by the 26 September deadline.

At his press conference in Budapest on Thursday, the minister explained that only 29,144 migrants had been transferred within the EU out of the originally prescribed number of 98,255. “This indicates that the joint migration institution system is doomed to failure”, he added. According to Mr. Lázár, this is also a response to the European Commission’s latest mechanism for the voluntary distribution of 50 thousand people. “Why they are still pushing for this is inexplicable”, he said. The Minister stood up for the fact that border protection falls under the sphere of competence of member states, and this must be taken seriously; every state must fulfil its Schengen obligations.

The Government will not be taking part in joint migration policies in the upcoming period and “of course will not be allowing anyone to be transferred to Hungary”.

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The questions concern the plan put forward by George Soros

The Minister said National Consultation that will be launched in early October will in the most part concern the points put forward by George Soros. The questionnaire has been completed and is publically available, and will be sent to every single Hungarian household by early November.

“The Soros Plan includes the acceptance of one million immigrants a year into the EU, the demolishing of border protection systems, 9 million forints in financial support for illegal immigrants during the first two years, the fact that any illegal acts they may have committed will receive be treated more leniently, the establishment of a joint EU immigration agency, and the establishment of a different social structure to replace nation states”, the minister listed.

Mr. Lázár also said that he would have gladly also asked people what they think about the fact that the word of a rich American is worth more in the EU than that of European voters of MEPs, explaining that, amongst others, George Soros’s ideas have become part of EU policy and have been transposed into a host of EU documents.

In reply to a question concerning the fact that George Soros has modified several of his ideas, Mr. Lázár said the businessman had summarised his plans through several channels and on several occasions, and there has been no change to the plan’s fundamental pillars.

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At the press conference, the Minister also said that Hungary has an interest in a stable and strong German government, and congratulated the CDU and CSU on their victory at the German parliamentary elections on Sunday, adding that common values would be enforced during the administration led by the two Christian democratic parties.

Mr. Lázár also spoke about Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s programme for last week and his upcoming official visits. The Prime Minister visited Warsaw to express his support against the double standards being applied against Poland, while his visits to Vietnam and Singapore were aimed at procuring new markets for Hungarian enterprises, he explained.

With regard to the Prime Ministers’ visit to Fidesz’s sister party in Macedonia, the right-wing Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization - Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity simplified (VMRO-DPMNE), the Minister explained: “It is of key importance to Hungary that the country’s politics should support the continued closure of the Balkan migration route”.

Mr. Lázár also mentioned that Prime Minister Orbán will be visiting Transylvania over the weekend, where there seems to be a good chance that a fair agreement could be reached on the status of the Hungarian Catholic School in Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureș).

He also said that Hungary was striving to maintain good relations with Ukraine, but that the Government cannot accept the fact that Ukraine’s new Education Act is stripping the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia of some of its important fundamental rights. “This is a pan-European issue”, he emphasised.

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Unemployment hasn’t been this low since the regime change

At his press conference in Budapest on Thursday, Mr. Lázár said that 4.44 million people were working in Hungary in the summer of 2017. He said he believes this number represents a huge increase in view of the fact that in the meantime employment increased by 58 thousand and there was a 40 thousand reduction in the number of people working in the public work scheme. Hungary’s previous employment rate of 54.5 percent has increased to 68-69 percent, with unemployment at 4.1-4.2 percent, he added.

Mr. Lázár pointed out that in the summer of 2010 the Government had proclaimed that it would be creating at least one million new jobs. “During the past seven years we have succeeded in fulfilling this undertaking; seven hundred thousand new jobs have been created”, he said. “Everyone who wants to work is working”, he added.

The Minister pointed out that in 2010 the rate of unemployment averaged 11 percent, with youth unemployment at around 30 percent, and the latter has since fallen to around 11 percent.

The Government is guaranteeing hospital debts

The Government is guaranteeing the debts of hospitals, the Minister said in reply to a question concerning the fact that total hospital debts reached 35 billion forints in August. He told reports that hospitals can expect the state budget to pay all outstanding invoices that are lawful and recognised. The Government is expected to decide on the payment of these debts at the end of this year, depending on the total sum of outstanding debts, he added.

Mr. Lázár also spoke about the fact that several proposals concerning funding for mandatory inoculations will be put before the Cabinet next week, adding that there seem to be a professional consensus on the fact that chicken pox vaccinations should be mandatory and free of charge. The Minister said in addition to inoculations against Meningitis C, Meningitis B vaccines could also become free. Funding for inoculations against the Rotavirus and Hepatitis A will also be discussed. With relation to Hepatitis vaccinations, he added that partial funding for the inoculation of adolescents could be introduced.

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The Minister also spoke about the fact that the connection of public services for enterprises could be speeded up in view of the fact that it often takes 250-270 days for a production hall to be put into commission. The Cabinet will be proposing the “rationalisation” of procedural deadlines in the case of connections to the electricity and gas network.

He also said that the Cabinet had discussed the Digital Welfare Programme, which includes the technical opportunity for all four million households in Hungary to have access to a much faster internet connection by 2018. The expansion of government services is in progress at a cost of 220 billion forints (EUR 700 million), he added. Broadband internet and Wi-Fi networks will also be expanded and established in education institutions, he also said, noting that this will be supplemented by a digital child protection programme.

Mr. Lázár told reporters that Government’s two Cabinets had discussed the fact that from 2018, people with mortgages who have a child will be receiving one million forints in mortgage payment funding towards the repayment of their loan. Borrowers will have to submit an application to the local district government office, and once the application is verified, the sum will be credited to the loan account within ten days, he detailed.

The Minister also said that the capacity expansion of the Mercedes factor in Kecskemét, thanks to which 2500 new jobs will be created by 2020-2021, has been declared a special official matter. In addition, regional airports will be developed in Szeged, Békéscsaba, Debrecen, Győr and other settlements, he announced.

The Government supports the fact that the Hungarian Baptist Church should become the owner of a “significant” piece of real estate in Budapest’s Benczúr Street to facilitate its operations, he announced. The Cabinet also decided to transform Budapest’s Saint Francis Hospital, which is maintained by the Catholic Church, into a cardiac and cardiovascular training centre and featured hospital.

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In reply to a question concerning Jobbik’s posters, he said: “The procedure employed by the government office in question was lawful and fair”, and the Government is ready for any court review. Mr. Lázár said that it could have been expected for any changes in the ownership of the advertising space or the person who ordered the poster to be indicated in time to the relative government office. It isn’t the job of government office managers to decide which one belongs to whom from among thousands of posters, he added.

The whole matter “stinks of scheming”. Why couldn’t the change have been reported to the government offices?, he asked, adding that it isn’t the government offices who have made this a policy, but those who have not fulfilled their obligation to cooperate, which is something that could be expected in a normal country.

The Minister also cited the fact that according to the Settlement Protection Act, list prices must be reported to the authorities, and this had not occurred. If an individual purchases advertising space, he doesn’t need to report it, but when a Poster Act is in pace, it is worthwhile reporting such a change, he said. Mr. Lázár replied “no” to a question concerning whether the Government was planning on amending the Act.

Mr. Lázár said Ferenc Gyurcsány’s proposal concerning the fact that Hungarians living across the border should not have the right to vote was shameful, adding that this in itself makes Ferenc Gyurcsány unfit to be a Member of Parliament. He also indicated that he thought it would be risky to amend regulations of electoral procedure just six months prior to the elections.

In reply to a question, Mr. Lázár said he was fully in favour of Central Bank President György Matolcsy’s proposal to put state companies on the stock exchange, adding that in his personal experience this would greatly improve competitiveness and enable these companies to remain under national ownership in the long term via the investments of Hungarian minority shareholders. The Government is currently debating the issue, he said.

With relation to the affair that led to the resignation of the mayor of Őcsény, the Minister said that in his opinion it would have been worthwhile for the locals to discuss a few issues among themselves. He said no to a question on whether the government communication of the past two years had possibly fuelled people’s emotions. Hungarian society is like this to begin with, he said.

With relation to press reports that people in Hajdúhadház are being asked to pay a 500 forint fee to use a playground that was constructed using EU funding, he told reporters that he had ordered an investigation into the case.

(Prime Minister's Office/MTI)