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Feb 14, 2020

Government seeks public support for upcoming national consultation survey

A total of nine questions are planned for the national consultation survey and the letters are expected to be delivered to Hungarian households in mid-March.

The Hungarian government has clear positions on the issues that sparked heated debate over the past few months, but seeks strong backing from the public to represent them both at home and internationally.

In order to address the topics most pressing to Hungarians today, an upcoming national consultation survey will take a look at compensation payments to Roma in Gyöngyöspata, a procedure linked to recent child murders in Győr, compensation payments to inmates, known as “prison business”, and the independence of judges.

Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said that organizations “financed from abroad and claiming to be civil rights organizations” have been involved in almost each of the aforementioned cases. “They protect the rights of perpetrators rather than the rights of victims,” he said.

A total of nine questions are planned for the national consultation survey and the letters are expected to be delivered to Hungarian households in mid-March. The survey is likely to conclude in May, facilitating legislation reflecting the results before the end of parliament’s spring session.

MTI reports that on the Gyöngyöspata case, Gulyás said it raised the question “is it really providing assistance if the compensation paid may disrupt peace in the community”. He also asked if “schoolchildren skipping dozens of days from school are entitled to compensation” and suggested that providing assistance which could close the gap between the segregated youth and majority society would be more purposeful.

On “prison business”, Gulyás said that the government is committed to meeting “reasonable” European requirements “aimed at serving human dignity”, but rules under which “Hungary should pay an annual HUF 8 billion (EUR 23.6m) for providing an inmate 3 square meters rather than 4” are “another question”.

“Binding rulings must be obeyed”, Gulyás said, adding that “it is up for discussion whether the Hungarian state should pay inmates serving their sentences under… the practice of the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights”.

The minister added that the government would submit an amendment before the end of the month “so that the issue of overcrowded prisons is resolved and no money from the central budget is paid out unnecessarily”.

Touching upon the Győr murders, Gulyás advocated a strict penal policy to prevent such crimes and suggested that it was not justifiable to release murderers on probation once perpetrators of organized economic crimes were not granted that opportunity.

Photo credit: 24.hu