The Minister heading the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister takes the view that the decision of the European Union on the mandatory distribution of migrants jeopardises Hungary’s sovereignty.

In the interview published in the Monday edition of the daily Magyar Hírlap, Antal Rogán highlighted: Hungary had to earn and fight for its freedom in 1848, „while today we must protect our freedom and sovereignty”.

The EU has already decided on the relocation of one hundred and twenty thousand people, and Hungary and Slovakia jointly contested this decision before the European Court, the Minister reiterated, adding that „they are currently preparing for the mandatory distribution of hundreds of thousands, or even millions of migrants on an ongoing basis over the course of several years”,

Mr Rogán believes that everyone agrees that the mandatory quotas are not an issue under international law, but a question of sovereignty. He is therefore convinced that „not only can we, but we must hold a referendum on this issue”. The Minister also pointed out that the Government will not submit a proposal of its own for the amendment of the referendum legislation. They would instead like to discuss the initiative of the National Election Commission and to present it to Parliament.

Regarding the teachers’ protests, Mr Rogán highlighted that ever since 2012 the Government has made ongoing efforts to reinvest the funds – withdrawn by the former MSZP-SZDSZ governments – in public education, and teachers were the first to receive a pay rise. The Minister added, however: based on the negotiations of the Public Education Roundtable, Minister of Human Capacities Zoltán Balog and State Secretary László Palkovics are free to initiate any change.

Mr Rogán further told the newspaper that the Government intends to allocate substantial funding to the First Home Programme in next year’s budget in the interest of boosting economic growth. Additionally, they may reduce personal income tax next year, and another option that is being considered is that a certain portion of wages would be free from contributions, Mr Rogán said, who believes that Hungarian workers would benefit from both of these measures. Regarding the future of cafeteria benefits, he said: they intend to move the current cafeteria benefits in the direction of social and children’s holidays, while they are also considering the introduction of contribution-free income.

On this issue, however, the Government must first consult with businesses, he highlighted, as only such pay rises can be introduced which they are able to provide and which do not jeopardise economic growth. If businesses accept that a significant part of pay rises may be free from contributions in the future, people will have more money left, the Minister stressed.