The Hungarian government agrees with European Council President Donald Tusk that the European Union’s mandatory quota for refugees is “a divisive and ineffective way to handle the migration crisis”, the Hungarian government office chief said at his weekly press conference on Thursday.
János Lázár criticised the European Commission for “attacking” Tusk over his remarks. He said the commission had “far exceeded” its scope of authority, adding that people who criticised Tusk were “unable to tackle the crisis”.
Lázár insisted that the government’s position had been “given weight” by the opinion of “2.3 million participants in the National Consultation on George Soros’s plan”.
Meanwhile, Lázár commented on Martin Schulz, head of the German Social Democrats, who flagged the idea of a European federal structure which all EU members should join by 2025 or face expulsion, saying: “Last time Hungary received such an ultimatum was from Adolf Hitler.”
Lázár said that Hungary would be an active participant in a European defence cooperation, and said it was “obvious” that Europe must increase such endeavours after Brexit.
Concerning a recent EU summit in Sweden, which focused on social issues, Lázár said the Hungarian government considers all decisions related to education or culture as national competencies.
Referring to a recent decision by the European Commission concerning “overpowering multinationals”, Lázár said that the commission had supported Hungary’s position and the Hungarian government had achieved “victory” in the case. Lázár said the decision affected companies selling consumer products that netted an annual 100 billion forints (EUR 318m), which “automatically means an overpowering position”. He added that Hungary’s Competition Office would “help protect consumers and the national interest”.
Lázár also touched on energy issues, saying the government will ease land use regulations to encourage agricultural firms to set up solar plants. He said the government had in mind 0.5 Megawatt micro-plants to be built on a single hectare each, from which the state would automatically buy the electricity generated. He also added that applicants would be offered subsidised loans to implement their part of the project.
Lázár argued that the government wants to minimise Hungary’s energy imports in the next 10-20 years, and the objective was to cover one half of the country’s total demand from the upgraded nuclear plant at Paks, and the other half from solar plants.
On another subject, Lázár said that the Hungarian state would pay compensation to students who were not paid by left-wing lawyer and fixer Csaba Czeglédy’s company. He said Czeglédy his “gang” is charged with “abusing the good faith of students” and with committing fraud totalling 3 billion forints (EUR 9.6m).
Commenting on the Middle East, Lázár said that the Hungarian government’s view is that United States has the right to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, while it is not the European Union’s business to judge the US decision but to form its own standpoint on the matter. The Hungarian government will not change its standpoint regarding the Middle East in the wake of Washington’s decision, and it will strive to nurture balanced relations with all parties, he added.
In connection with press reports stating that Microsoft Magyarorszag has cancelled the licence to sell Microsoft products of some companies that are the largest government suppliers, Lázár said relations with Microsoft, which has been supplying software and licences to the government, had so far been orderly. The government has been in contact with Microsoft resellers selected by the company and not with the parent company. Lázár said the government had nothing to do with Microsoft’s business policy decisions or the company’s dispute with a former Hungarian manager. Referring to former Microsoft Magyarorszag manager Viktor Sagyibo, who is currently a ministerial commissioner, he said the prime minister’s office employs people only if they meet all legal requirements.
Lázár added that talks are currently under way, and it is certain that no licence or software will be withdrawn by Microsoft at the start of next year.
In response to a question about the potential ratification of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, he said the issue did not figure among the government’s 2018 legislative plans. In any case, before the general election in the spring, the government does not plan to put forward any new bills in parliament, he added.
Featured image: MTI