Gergely Gulyás, Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said the conflict in Israel and the situation in the Middle East will be on the agenda of the upcoming EU summit.
The Hungarian government does not support an amendment proposal to the European Union’s budget, and finds it “unacceptable that Brussels is asking for more money”, Gulyás told a press conference. The implementation of the EU’s “migrant pact” is irreconcilable with Hungary’s interests as well as those of the community, he said. “We can’t support wage hikes for Brussels bureaucrats either: these bureaucrats have failed to fulfil their most basic obligations towards Hungary,” he said. The European Commission is trying to finance rising interest rates from resources it currently does not have, Gulyás added. Meanwhile, the proposal would ensure support for Ukraine over four years, he said. That proposal is “unacceptable” as it would prolong the war rather than support a ceasefire, he said. “We do not think it is good that support for Ukraine should be integrated into the EU budget,” he said. The government does not expect a consensus on these matters at an upcoming EU summit, he said.
Regarding the ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership, Gulyás said Sweden would need to give an answer to the following: “If we are wrong in saying that Sweden has levelled hurtful accusations at us for years, why did we have to listen to them? But if they think those accusations are true, why would they want to be then in a club with us?” The situation around the issue has recently deteriorated, Gergely Gulyás told a press conference. “We want a good relationship with Sweden. If we can achieve that, there will be no obstacles to the accession.” Regarding his talks with the Chinese head of state, Gulyás said they had concluded “countless” agreements with Chinese banks and companies. “China is of critical importance for Hungary and Europe. Hopefully, some European countries will come to the same realisation, and act upon it. Severing ties with China would be a serious blow to the European economy,” he said. Commenting on a 50 billion forint loan taken out by the Budapest municipality, Gulyás said the move was “forced and mistaken”. Budapest’s tax revenues had grown substantially in the past years, he insisted. “The incumbent leadership started with a 200 billion forint budget surplus and has managed to bankrupt the city by now. I hope they will continue to fulfil their obligations and [public transport company] BKV will continue to operate,” he said. He slammed Mayor Gergely Karácsony’s decision to pay some 300 million forints in bonuses to the heads of municipality-owned companies as “a peculiar practice”.
Regarding the possibility of EU membership of Ukraine and Moldova, Gulyás said the EU had no such thing as “an observer status”, and those countries would have to fulfil “clear criteria” for accession. The accession of new states also requires a unanimous vote, and “Hungary is the guarantee that better-prepared states won’t be shunned while others are allowed in,” he said. In response to a question on Hungary’s stance on Romania’s Schengen integration after disagreements on events in a Hungarian military cemetery in Valea Uzului (Úzvölgye) in central Romania, Gulyás said the conflict did not show “neighbourly relations”. At the same time, it had to be taken into account that more than one million Hungarians were currently living outside the Schengen area in Romania, he added. Regarding Ukraine, Gulyás reiterated the government’s stance that unless the country restored the rights of the Hungarians living there, “we won’t support its integration into any international community.” On the deployment of Hungarian troops in Chad, Gulyás said Hungary had been called upon to participate in the mission. From spring 2024, a maximum of 200 Hungarian troops will be deployed to serve there, he said. “We aim to contribute to curbing migration, support the fight against terrorism, and ensure the background for the support brought in by the Hungary Helps programme,” Gulyás said.