Alpár Kató | Feb 20, 2019 | 1
Goverment weekly press briefing about Europe’s security, higher-ed law and many other topics
Budapest (MTI) – Europe’s current security situation is worse than ever, the government office chief said on Thursday. Parliament’s national security committee has approved the concept for developing Hungary’s armed forces, János Lázár said.
Europe’s security worse than ever
“The balmy days of peace are over; terrorism could pose a threat to everyday life in any European country,” János Lázár told a weekly press briefing.
The Manchester attack has opened a new chapter in the history of terrorist acts in Europe; this is the first time that children were targeted, he said.
Hungary does not need to raise its terrorism alert to a higher level but will take steps to beef up security at major events, he said.
All EU member states must be able to defend their borders, he said. Given the current security situation, it would be inadmissible to allow anyone into Europe without verification, Lázár added.
Europe’s borders should be controlled more tightly and, in certain cases, even their closure might be warranted, he said.
Answering a question concerning the current NATO summit in Brussels attended by US President Donald Trump, Lázár said no bilateral meeting was scheduled between Trump and Orbán.
Concerning migration, Lázár said he expected increased pressure on Hungary “to accommodate a couple of hundred or a couple of thousand refugees”.
But “if the gates are open” the consequences could be unpredictable, he added. Migration is a risk factor for European security, and the greatest risk of terrorism is “uncontrolled, unlimited migration”, he said.
The Hungarian government insists on keeping the country’s borders closed, applying the strictest checks on new arrivals and not allowing free movement in Hungary, Lázár said. There are currently some 300 asylum seekers waiting in the transit zone, he said, adding that the migration pressure on Hungary’s borders had eased.
Parliament’s nat security cttee approves armed forces development concept
Lázár told a weekly press briefing that the aim is to boost spending on the country’s defence from 1 percent of GDP to 2 percent by the early 2020s. He added that spending was likely to increase from 400 billion forints (EUR 1.3bn) to 1,000 billion by 2020.
The headcount will be increased and technical developments will be implemented accordingly. The development of new capabilities will start this year, he added.
EC has not brought forward any argument warranting change to higher-ed law
The government office chief has said the European Commission has not brought up any argument that would warrant making changes to Hungary’s amendment to the law on higher education.
Lázár told that Hungary must reply to the commission’s questions by today in connection with the EU’s related infringement procedure against Hungary.
So far the commission has failed to bring forward any “normal, serious legal arguments”, and it has only brought forth “arguments based on political hysteria”, he said.
Whereas there’s “a lot of froth being whipped up” around the issue of the Central European University, various countries have shown a willingness to negotiate with the Hungarian government, Lázár said, citing the instances of “China and the US-based McDaniel University”. Concerning the latter, he said that the leadership of the university had negotiated with the Hungarian government, and both they and the institution’s base, the State of Maryland, were ready to strike an agreement with the government.
Lázár said that he saw no obstacle to holding talks with the governor of New York State. He added that the government was also in contact with the US government.
Government plans to boost family subsidies to 5 pc / GDP by 2020
The government aims to boost family support from 4.6 percent of GDP to 5 percent in the next two years, the government office chief said on Thursday.
Lázár told that the goal was to ensure that by 2030 people who want to have children should be thinking in terms of raising more than two children.
He noted that if current trends persist, then the working-age population will shrink significantly within the foreseeable future. The aim, therefore, is to increase the number of newborn children by more than 30,000. Every young couple who wants to undertake parenthood will receive support from the state, he added.
The government has announced plans to boost the country’s birth rate by implementing measures such as mortgage reductions for families with three or more children and subsidies for nurseries. The overall aim is to increase the number of children born per woman from 1.5 now to 2.1 by 2030.