János Lázár, Minister Overseeing the Prime Minister’s Office, and government spokesman Zoltán Kovács held the 54th “government information” marathon press conference on Thursday. Here’s a rundown of the announcements.
The government will form a working group on migration with the collaborative participation of the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice and the Prime Minister’s Office. The group will be led by Justice Minister László Trócsányi, and is tasked with preparing a report for next Friday’s cabinet meeting, detailing the latest developments in Hungary’s legislative approach to immigration. Lázár reiterated the continuing position of the government, saying “Hungary won’t let in anyone at all,” Index.hu reported.
In addition to immigrants, foreign multinational grocery chains were also in the crosshairs of Lázár. He would rather they “leave the country” than allow them to “dump Europe’s trash” on Hungary. He believes that domestic processing and food retail industries should be reinforced, and plans a consultation with the chambers of agriculture and industry to that end. He said the government will set aside HUF 100 billion (USD 370 million) for the reinforcement of the processing industry in EU funds allocated for economic and innovation purposes, and HUF 20 billion (USD 74 million) will be made available for medium-sized and large businesses as part of the rural development operational program, according to Kormany.hu.
In connection with a massive red-tape reduction plan, Lázár said that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has carte blanche in the dismissal of ministers and in reduction of material costs. The target cost reduction in government ministries is 20 percent. When asked by an Origo reporter how many people might be affected, Lázár said that in his opinion, 3,000 people could be discharged from various ministries. His proposal that those agreeing not to return to public administration receive higher severance pay was turned down, he said.
When asked whether he would continue to stand by banking and media mogul Zoltán Spéder, whose home and businesses were raided by police last week, Lázár said he would stand by his friend “through thick and thin.” Spéder has recently come under fire from the government for reasons still unclear, and is now under investigation for three separate cases of fraud. Lázár added of Spéder: “He’s a warrior, he will fight, and then we’ll see. That’s life.”