Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will start a broad consultation in February next year about whom he should recommend to Fidesz lawmakers as the next president of Hungary, government office chief János Lázár said. Hungarian-born US financier George Soros is behind recent negative remarks targeting Hungary, he said on Thursday.
Government: Soros ‘behind anti-Hungary remarks’
Soros’s flagship idea is one advocated by US President Barack Obama, Lázár said at a regular press briefing, namely that migrants should be moved to Europe. The Hungarian government believes that Soros is an influential supporter of the US Democratic Party and the Clintons and he will “make room” for his views at any cost. He added that Soros is likely to take action soon against the Orban government “which is considered one of his most dangerous political enemies in Europe”.
Soros “can always be detected in the background,” Lázár insisted.
Hungary is against migration, a position that conflicts with that of “several European powers and the United States”, Lázár said.
At a campaign event for his wife at the College of New Jersey last week, former US President Bill Clinton referred to Hungary and Poland as “two countries that would not be free but for the United States and the long Cold War”. Clinton added that now Hungarians decided democracy was “too much trouble” and wanted a Putin-style leadership.
Asked by US news agency AP, Josh Earnest, spokesman for the White House, said that he was unaware of the Hungarian minister’s remarks. He added, however, that “I’m not sure they’re worthy of a response.”
Concerning ties with the US, Lázár said that the Hungarian government is interested in strong bilateral relations, and while “Hungary is a reliable partner in such areas as defence or business, there are some issues on which there is no agreement”. Lázár insisted that “some US circles” think that Europe needs immigrants. “We don’t see eye-to-eye with those Americans”. He added that he would not “identify those interest groups with the US administration”.
Referring to the current situation in Hungary, Lázár said that since the beginning of the year 11,800 illegal migrants have entered Hungary, and 2,472 of them were staying in the country at the moment. This year, 221 migrants in Hungary have been granted international protection.
Orbán to gauge Fidesz opinions on next president in 2017
Lázár said under party rules, the Fidesz leader has the right to make a recommendation on a presidential nominee to the party’s parliamentary group.
Lázár added that he had headed the parliamentary group during the process of two presidential nominations and both had been preceded by “very circumspect consultations”.
Answering a question about speculation that human resources minister Zoltán Balog was a possible nominee, Lázár said he was “not aware” of any such proposal.
Earlier this week, footage was released by commercial Hir TV of György Rubovszky, a co-ruling Christian Democrat deputy, saying it was “impossible” for President János Áder to be re-elected for a second term because “Viktor [Orbán] would not allow that”.
Referring to the footage, Lázár said it was “gossip rather than a sound statement”. He said that cooperation between the prime minister and the president was “excellent” and added that “nobody was cross with anyone”. Orbán, Áder, and Kövér, the house speaker, have been “political allies and personal friends for 30 years”.
Government to decide on plans for Budapest train stations next week
The government will decide on future plans for Budapest’s Nyugati (Western), Déli (Southern) and Kelenföld railway stations next week, Lázár said.
Lázár said the aim was to make transport safer and to expand green areas in the capital.
Among the plans to be examined are a proposal to building a link between Nyugati station with the zoo in the City Park under the Nyugati Liget project.
With regard to Déli station, the plans are to close down the station. This can only happen if a substitute can be found; upgrading Kelenfold station is under consideration in that regard, Lázár said.
Plans on the use of 240 billion forints (EUR 759m) generated by the sale of state farmland are also on the agenda of next Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, he added.