Government discusses bus, steel making, health, Paks project
Budapest, March 23 (MTI) – The government discussed issues around Hungary’s bus- and steel-making industries, and made decisions concerning national health screening programmes, János Lázár, head of the government office, told a weekly press conference on Thursday.
The government discussed issues around Hungary’s bus- and steel-making industries, and made decisions concerning national health screening programmes. Concerning the government’s bus manufacturing programme, Lázár said that new buses produced in the scheme would “in effect” renew Hungary’s state-owned bus park. He also said that the steel sector needed government assistance for growth.
At its latest session, the government decided that out of a total 19.1 billion forints (EUR 61.7m) allocated to finance Budapest’s now-withdrawn Olympic bid, an unused 12.6 billion forints will be refunded to the central budget, Lázár said.
The government also approved a wage hike in the water management sector, Lázár announced.
On the topic of the Paks nuclear plant upgrade, Lázár the project’s approval by the European Commission was “the greatest economic achievement of the past 27 years [since the end of Communism]”. The 12.5 billion euro investment will have a major effect on the Hungarian economy, especially between 2019-2022, he said.
State Audit Office (ASZ) chief László Domokos said one of the Hungarian government’s laudable achievements was to claim all EU subsidies in the 2007-2013 period. The 25 billion euros available in subsidies for the 2014-2020 period should be tapped with timely tendering and good economic planning, he said.
He said integrity issues were still prevalent concerning investments based on public procurement. To avoid corruption, fraud and embezzlement, individual projects need to be closely monitored by a system designed to enforce economic integrity, Domokos said, noting the EC anti-fraud office (OLAF) report on the Budapest metro construction, which confirmed irregularities pointed to in a 2010 ASZ report.
On another subject, Lázár said the government will launch a new national consultation in two weeks’ time, with questions drafted by the Prime Minister’s cabinet office.
He noted that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will travel to Rome in the afternoon to participate in a conference marking the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. Member states plan to approve a joint statement and a consultation will be started on the bloc’s future, he added.
He said the government has decided to launch public health screening programmes focusing on women and people in active working age. They will be tested for breast, cervical and colon cancer. Twenty specialised screening buses will be purchased, ten of which will carry out mammographies, he said. Also, it is possible that a decision will be made to pay additional monthly funding to GPs, he said.