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Budapest (MTI) – The government is introducing new benefits to encourage couples to have children, government office chief János Lázár told a weekly press briefing on Thursday.

Lázár added that the changes would be made in preparation for a long-term national programme between now and 2060 aimed at higher life expectancy and lower mortality rates. Improvements to the education system and addressing the issue of Hungarian job-seekers in the EU would also fall under the scheme, he added.

Lázár said the government wants life expectancy at birth to increase by 5 years by 2030. This would mean life expectancy of 85 years for women and 80 years for men.

On the topic of unclaimed properties, Lázár said county authorities will be given the right to claim property in cases where the owners of the deeds were born over 115 years ago and no other claimants can be found. The authority will be obliged to search for the owners and will be then authorised to re-sell land or real estate, while ownership in common property should be offered for sale the other owners, he said, noting that nearly 1.9 million property deeds out of 18 million are incorrect, and 13,000 named owners were born before 1896.

Meanwhile, Lázár said that as part of measures to keep genetically modified food out of the country, the government is launching a national programme to replace imported soya in fodder.

Commenting on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech to the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce, Lázár said Viktor Orbán had spoken against EU legislation settling foreigners in Hungary without the country’s consent, because homogeneity is a strength which raises Hungary’s competitiveness while, he insisted, multicultural countries would lose their own. Lázár emphasised that Orbán’s comments had not applied to Hungary’s Roma community.

On another topic, Lázár condemned the idea of a basic income, calling it a matter of principle that wages should be exclusively a reward for work.

On the topic of the corruption scandal around the fourth metro line, Lázár said it was expected that the European Commission would make the official report by Europe’s anti-fraud office (OLAF) available to the Hungarian government by March 17. The city and central government will then have 60 days to communicate their standpoint, he said, adding that after the ensuing debate it was likely that 59 billion forints (EUR 192m) would have to be paid back to the European Union immediately. He said an attempt would be made to help Budapest so that its residents are not negatively affected. Lázár said the former mayor of the capital should take responsibility for the affair, given that he signed the related contract.

Source: MTI

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