Hungary’s government will establish a stricter and more transparent system for the utilisation of European Union funds and the monitoring of EU public procurement procedures, the prime minister’s chief of staff said on Tuesday.
Hungary had until midnight on Monday to respond to the European Commission’s questions concerning its conditionality mechanism procedure. Details HERE. The government and the EC have been engaged in “intensive consultations”, holding talks on a daily basis over the last two weeks, minister added.
The government has sent the commission a response that establishes a common position on all of the EC’s recommendations, Gergely Gulyás said.
He expressed hope that the conditionality procedure could be concluded and Hungary and the EC could sign the agreement on funding from the bloc’s recovery fund and seven-year budget. He also expressed hope that the “constructive attitude that characterised the EC in the past month” would be maintained.
Hungary’s gas and electricity supplies are secure, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office told.
Suppliers are able to meet all household and market demand, while talks concerning further purchases are under way, aimed at increasing strategic reserves, Gulyás said. He noted, however, that “energy prices have increased considerably due to the war and [EU] sanctions”, and the government would maintain its price control for households up to the average consumption levels.
Gulyás said the definition of average consumption would be included in a government decree because the thermal values of gas from Russia, from the West and from domestic production were different.
Average consumption was now defined at 63,645 megajoules, “well above the figure in the earlier decree”, the minister added.
Answering a question concerning the recent dismissal of the national weather service (OMSZ) leaders, Gulyás said the government had “accepted and supported” a proposal by Technology and Industry Minister László Palkovics. He said “changes in management positions would have been made irrespective of (OMSZ’s) forecast” for the August 20 national holiday, which had “proven spectacularly wrong”. The dismissals were due to “long-term dissatisfaction”, he said, and insisted that the forecast, which had caused the August 20 fireworks to be postponed, had been “not the last but the one after the last drop”.
He also said that there was no political pressure on OMSZ staff.
In response to a question, Gulyás said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was on holiday and his deputy Zsolt Semjén had chaired Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.
In response to a question about pension premium to be paid this year, he said a similar amount can be expected as last year, of up to 80,000 forints (EUR 200).
In connection with an agreement with the EC, he said amendment proposals needed for a deal had already been submitted to parliament and “several further legal amendments” had been promised if an agreement is reached.
In response to a question about EU resources, he said Hungary had nothing to hide from the EC and “additional guarantees” had been given. He added that joining the European prosecutor’s office was not requested by the EU among additional guarantees.