Following the unacceptable decision of the Council of Interior Ministers on the distribution mechanism for migrants, negotiations have started with the European Parliament, Gergely Gulyás, the minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said, underlining that any kind of distribution mechanism is unacceptable.
“The current proposals are against Europe's interests and do not include guarantees for border protection,” he stressed. Migratory pressure on Europe will be much greater than it has been so far, and Hungary’s expenditure on border protection has exceeded EUR 650 billion, less than 1 percent of which has been reimbursed by the EU, Gulyás said. If we want well-functioning border protection, the Commission must make its contribution, he concluded.
Speaking about EU funds, Gulyás stressed that once Hungary has met the milestone related to the justice system, there should be no obstacles to payments from the seven-year budget. Therefore, EUR 238 million in cost statements from operational programs have been sent to the European Commission. Of this, Hungary expects to receive EUR 202 million from EU funds.
Regarding the Hungarian economy, the government is expecting a better outlook for the second half of the year. Estimates call for economic growth of 1.5 percent for 2023 and 4 percent for 2024, the minister said. “If all goes well, inflation will be in the single digits as early as October,” he said, adding that it is realistic to expect annual inflation to be as low as 6 percent in 2024.
According to the most conservative estimates, more than 310,000 people have died in the Russian-Ukrainian war, Gergely Gulyás emphasized. Per available data, the Russians have higher losses, but also higher reserves, he added. The Hungarian government's position on the necessity of a ceasefire and peace talks as soon as possible is well-founded, as that is in the interest of all parties, Gulyás said. He also made it clear, however, that the EU budget will certainly not be able to support a non-EU member state until all EU member states have access to the budgetary resources they are entitled to.
Gulyás additionally congratulated the 95,000 students who were admitted to university on Wednesday. He said it was good news that the number of those admitted to rural universities had increased by 43 percent. The minister said that 10,514 students applied to become teachers, the best number in the last six years. He also announced that one of the universities in Budapest, Károli Gáspár University, is expanding with a new campus, the construction of which is being supported by the government.
Photo credit: MTI