The government plans to hold coordination talks with the Hungarian Banking Association in connection with client compensation in the case of failed brokerage Quaestor, the government office chief said on Thursday. The government has approved plans to administratively separate Budapest and Pest County from 2020, the government office chief said. Hungary is ready to hold coordination talks with Brussels in the next two months over the 12 billion euro project to upgrade the Paks nuclear power plant but will take the issue to court if necessary, the government office chief said in connection with the European Commission’s decision to launch an infringement procedure over related public procurement rules. Secret service reports confirm the government’s standpoint that Hungary is right to enhance its level of security, the government office chief said.
Government to coordinate with banking association on Quaestor
The issue of compensation will be reconsidered in parliament after the talks, Janos Lazar told a weekly government press briefing in connection with Tuesday’s Constitutional Court ruling annulling certain sections of the law on Quaestor. Lazar argued that the ruling approved the involvement of banks in compensating clients.
The top court’s ruling concerned the law governing a top-up fund which was set up to help Quaestor clients. The law discriminated against some investors when determining their eligibility for compensation and placed disproportionate ownership restrictions on investment service providers that were obliged to provide compensation, the court said.
Chairman of the top court Barnabas Lenkovics, commenting on the ruling, said tweaks to the law could bring it into line with the constitution.
Levente Kovacs, general secretary of the association, told MTI after the court’s decision that taxpayers “cannot be made to pay compensation to investors seeking higher than average yields”. Hungarian banks — which would have paid into the fund under the law rejected by the court — work in a “regular and honest” way, and cannot be held responsible for the activities of brokerage companies outside the banking sector, Kovacs added.
Budapest, Pest County to be separated from 2020
Pest County, like Budapest, is not eligible for European Union structural funding. Separating the two would unlock EU funds by 2021.
Meanwhile, the government has approved a 24 billion forint (EUR 77m) allocation for the financing of Budapest public transport company BKV, and the economy minister will continue talks on Budapest’s public transport system.
A tender is planned to be invited in the near future for the establishment a new national library in Budapest, to be built behind the National Museum building, Lazar said.
Lazar: Hungary to consult Brussels on Paks upgrade but prepared to sue
Brussels does not have the right to prohibit commercial agreements with non-European Union countries such as Russia, China or Arab countries, Janos Lazar told a weekly press briefing on Thursday, commenting on the European Commission’s decision to launch the procedure over the deal in which Russian energy giant Rosatom won the main contract.
Hungary guarantees that Hungarian and other EU businesses can participate in up to 60 percent of the project, he said, adding no other nuclear energy development in the EU had been subject to a public tender.
Hungary enhancing security in light of Paris terrorist attacks
Janos Lazar told a weekly government press briefing that terrorist groups aiming to weaken Europe have infiltrated groups of migrants. Accordingly, the government is tackling the threat of terrorism by setting up a counter-terrorism coordination centre, among other measures, he said.
At the same time, thanks to the government’s migrant policy, Hungary is among the safest countries in the European Union, he added. Since the EU is unable to guarantee people’s safety, the member countries must do this for themselves, he said.
Lazar reiterated that Germany had the right to invite migrants, but this should be done under controlled arrangements and Hungary cannot be obliged to do the same.
He called on the European Commission to review its decision on compulsory quotas for the distribution of migrants because it spreads the danger of terrorism.