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Weekly govt press briefing about Rio Olympics, quota referendum and other important decisions

Weekly govt press briefing about Rio Olympics, quota referendum and other important decisions

Budapest, August 25 (MTI) – The government considers sports as a “strategic sector and a national cause”, János Lázár, the government office chief, told a weekly press briefing on Thursday. The Oct. 2 referendum on the EU’s migrant quota measures will be “historic”, he said. The Hungarian State Treasury will become the only central agency responsible for payments of state supports and public benefits, Lázár said.

Sport ‘national cause’

The achievements of Hungary’s athletes in the Rio Olympics and in past years will help the country’s bid to host the Olympics, Lázár said.

Read more news about RIO2016 and the Hungarian medals

He called Hungary one of the most successful “sporting nations” in the world. Hungary is the only top Olympic performer not to have hosted the Games yet, he said. All conditions are in place for Budapest to organise such events, he added.

The government will further strengthen its commitment to sports in future by providing all the infrastructure and financing necessary to ensure that adults and children have daily exercise and the new generation of athletes have at their disposal the best facilities possible, Lázár said.

The economic cabinet has decided to provide priority funding for the European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships Hungary will host in 2017, he said.

Lázár gave a detailed outline of the past few meetings held by the newly set-up strategic and economic cabinets.

Meetings addressed planned changes to the institutional system supporting the state administration, including a plan to lay off 20 percent of the workforce.

He noted that the State Treasury will become the only central agency responsible for payments of state supports and public benefits.

The strategic cabinet has decided to continue plans to build new barracks for firefighters and new law-enforcement facilities, with 5,000 new workplaces created by 2018, Lazar said, adding that the government has rescinded its decision to build a prison in Batonyterenye, in northern Hungary.

A decision was also made on tightening conditions for establishing windfarms in an effort to protect the environment, he said.

Further, he noted decisions to approve Hungary’s Digital Child Protection Strategy and establish social care centres.

Lázár said that the strategic cabinet reviewed a plan to set up courts specialising in public administration matters with Tünde Handó, head of the National Judicial Office. Responding to a question, Lázár dismissed the claim that the new courts would handle “sensitive political issues”, saying the aim is to settle public administration issues speedily. The government will launch cross-party talks concerning the system, he added.

Lázár denied information that András Patyi, the president of the public administration university, would be appointed to head the new system, but did not rule out the possibility of appointing judges with a background in public administration.

Answering a question concerning Flórián Farkas, the prime minister’s commissioner on Roma affairs, he said Farkas had attended a hearing by the European anti-fraud office OLAF and questions not answered at the hearing would be answered in writing. The government can provide reassuring answers to OLAF, he added.

Related article: NATIONAL ROMA GOVERNMENT OPERATES AS “MAFIA”, SAYS MEMBER

In response to a question about controversial journalist Zsolt Bayer, who received Hungary’s Order of Merit, knight’s cross, he said he regretted that many other recipients had returned their awards in protest against his perceived anti-Semitism and racism. “The award is granted not by the government . but by the Hungarian state, which should be taken into consideration by those who returned their own awards,” he said, adding that some of Bayer’s achievements were beyond doubt, such as the series entitled “1,100 years in the centre of Europe”.

“I of course do not agree with the free language he used in his editorial pieces but that does not distract from … his film series, books and expressions of support for ethnic Hungarians in the Carpathian Basin,” Lázár said. Bayer’s award was not initiated by the government but a civil proposal was approved, he added.

In response to a question about Mihály Munkácsi’s painting Gologtha, he said negotiations with the owner, Imre Pakh, on the purchase of the painting by the state have come to a standstill.

He said the revamp of the third metro line would certainly not start this year because a public procurement tender that needs to be invited by the metropolitan council has not even been published. Even if it is published now, work cannot start before next spring, he added. Commenting on the possibility of introducing a congestion charge for Budapest, he said the government maintained that this would be undesirable.

Lázár JánosQuota referendum ‘historic’

Voters are expected to make a clear choice and thereby strengthen the government’s hand in its political dispute with the European Commission, he told.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will take part in a meeting of the prime ministers of the Visegrad grouping of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia on Friday. Through the V4, Hungary is part of a political grouping which is “the most action-ready” in the EU. “This is our most successful foreign policy venture,” Lázár said.

There was complete agreement within the V4 on measures to be taken after the Brexit and the V4 played a major role in Hungary’s ability to stem migration pressure on Europe from the south, he said.

Read more about REFERENDUM ON MIGRANT QUOTAS

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is invited to the meeting to be held in Warsaw, Lázár said.

The government will further strengthen its commitment to sports in future by providing all the infrastructure and financing necessary to ensure that adults and children have daily exercise and the new generation of athletes have at their disposal the best facilities possible, Lázár said.

State Treasury to become sole payments agency by next summer

Lázár said that the past few meetings of the new strategic and economic cabinets had addressed planned changes to the institutional system supporting the state administration, including a plan to lay off 20 percent of the workforce.

The strategic cabinet has decided to continue plans to build new barracks for firefighters and new law-enforcement facilities, with 5,000 new workplaces created by 2018. Conditions for establishing windfarms will also be tightened, Lázár said.

Photo: MTI

Source: MTI

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