The government plans to focus on four main issues during Hungary’s Visegrad Group (V4) presidency to start in July, the government office chief said on Thursday.
One planned issue is a review of what the European Union means for the V4 states in the years to come, Lázár told a regular press briefing. The other issues are regional cooperation, possible infrastructure projects, how digitalisation can contribute to improving economic competitiveness and what roles the V4 states (Czech Rep, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia) can play in global policymaking.
The cabinet meeting has reviewed the connected schemes and discussed them in detail, he said.
Hungary’s V4 presidency will last from July 1 until June 30 next year, he added.
On another subject, Lázár said that negotiations with the EU concerning financing after 2020 were under way. Hungary “does not exclude” a review of financial issues concerning the country, he said.
“Hungary is a sovereign state which cooperates with the EU in a partnership; it will meet its obligations and make use of its rights but will not succumb to any blackmail attempts”. He added that the Hungarian government would not accept any agreement other than “one that serves the country’s interests”.
Meanwhile, Lázár said a review of the government’s “csok” family benefit scheme would assess whether it should be up to the state to manage the financing rather than commercial banks. Conclusions will be drawn by September at the latest. He added that many applicants had found procedures too complex and bureaucratic, while some banks promoted their own products instead of the government’s scheme.
Concerning a critical response to Hungary’s recently adopted civil organisations law, Lazar said the government “respects” the position of the United States Embassy in Budapest, and critical remarks would not have an impact on bilateral ties.
Referring to a plan by Hungary’s Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee NGOs to boycott the law, Lázár said: “Ours is a democracy and quite a lot of things are possible if you bear the consequences … Hungary is a country where the law applies to all and all should abide by it”.
Lázár was asked about press reports suggesting that “radical left-wing activists” might be planning provocative actions to elicit police violence in future demonstrations. Lázár responded that he trusted the police would handle such occurrences in an orderly and self-disciplined manner. He said he expected provocative developments in a “rough” election campaign starting in September, but police would guarantee “a sober and law-abiding attitude”.
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