Minister Overseeing the Office of the Prime Minister János Lázár and government spokeshole Zoltán Kovács held their weekly marathon press conference today.
They said that the government is a hop, skip and jump away from finalizing the 2017 state budget, sales tax reductions can be expected on select grocery items, Hungary is super thankful to the Poles for openly supporting Hungary’s lawsuit against the European Commission on the compulsory resettlement of refugees, multi-party talks are under way concerning the terror action plan and (yet another) constitutional modification, and the government has no idea whether it or István Tiborcz (Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s son-in-law) has done business with a Middle Eastern man wanted by the FBI.
In other words, all is terrific in the Turul’s nest!
Sales tax reduction
Lázár announced that the government plans to reduce the sales tax on eggs, milk and poultry to 5 percent. This, he says, will help Hungary’s poorest, especially the pensioners.
Housing subsidies for families
Lázár also talked about the CSOK program, a subsidized loan and grant program created to encourage young families to buy homes, stimulate the flagging construction sector, and incentivize Hungarians to have more children.
According to him, around 3,000 families have signed up for CSOK in one way or another since the program was launched at the beginning of this year.
Lázár said the government would be holding its third and final round of state-owned agricultural land auctions in May. More than 10,000 Hungarians have benefited from the privatization of agricultural lands, he says.
Századvég vs. Political Capital
Lázár went on the offence to deflect questions about reports that the government paid billions for worthless studies prepared by Századvég. In response to a question from pro-government online Pesti Sracok (which was paid tens of millions by the Fidesz parliamentary delegation to write articles attacking political opposition leaders), Lázár accused Political Capital of being used by the Socialist government as a conduit for paying out “political money”. He said the Socialist government had spent HUF 21 billion on studies which he claimed the government destroyed, and that by contrast the second and third Orbán governments had only spent HUF 10 billion (or thereabouts) on studies to date.
It is worth mentioning here that Lázár used an expression that could be interpreted to mean Political Capital was a money laundering operation for the Socialist government. Unfortunately for Lázár, there has not been a single employee of Political Capital who left the organization only to publicly accuse it of being a money laundering operation — as was the case with former Századvég research director Tamás Mellár.
Refugees hate Jews
In response to questions about Hungary’s tough stand on refugees and asylum seekers from the Middle East, Lázár felt compelled to point out that “refugees entering Europe now are strongly anti-semitic”, and that anti-semitism in every other European country is higher than in Hungary (which, if proved, would not speak well for Europe).