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The government will submit next year’s draft budget to parliament on June 4 with a final vote on it expected on July 12, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office said at a regular press briefing. Gergely Gulyás also said Hungary’s economic growth rate of 5.3% in the first quarter was the highest in the European Union. He said the figure proved that the slowdown in Germany’s economy did not automatically have a direct impact on the Hungarian economy. He added, at the same time, that the government was aware of the threat posed by a slowdown in western European growth and it will come to a decision on implementing an economic protection action plan in two weeks’ time. Referring to the government’s wage hike schemes, Gulyás said that “economic achievements depend on a disciplined, conservative budget policy”, adding that the government action may be limited by economic potential.
Gulyás quoted leaders of BMW as saying that a slowdown of German industry would not affect the German car maker’s development of a new plant under way in Debrecen, in eastern Hungary.
On another subject, Gulyás said that the first five measures of the government’s family protection action plan will enter into effect on July 1.
Concerning the government’s ongoing dispute with Brussels over the introduction of prenatal subsides, Gulyás said the government had consulted Brussels about the scheme just as it had done before introducing the CSOK housing subsidy. Hungary had sought Brussels’ approval for the prenatal subsidy, but “the European Commission bureaucracy” warned that the scheme could be considered illicit state financing, Gulyás said. Under the scheme, the government would disburse an allowance for expectant mothers via banks. Gulyás said the government later received a verbal guarantee from the European Commission that it would not take legal action against Hungary over the subsidy. If the debit cards distributed to migrants did not count as illicit state financing, “it would be nice if the prenatal subsidy wouldn’t either,” he said.
Gulyás was asked about Facebook’s recent ban of advertisements by journals and news portals managed by Mediaworks Hungary, and said that the government was “unhappy” to see that “the suspicion of censorship by Facebook arises more and more often”. The government would prefer to see Facebook “promoting freedom of expression and refraining from bypassing international regulations”, he added.
Answering another question about remarks by Speaker of Parliament László Kövér concerning homosexuality and paedophilia, Gulyás said that “Hungarian law is clear: same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt children and marriage is between a man and a woman”. “Every child has the right to have a mother and a father and it would not be befitting for a child to grow up with two fathers,” he argued.
In response to another question, he said the government would discuss at its next meeting a proposal by innovation and technology minister László Palkovics on the research network of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Commenting on a proposal by opposition DK’s top candidate for the EP elections Klára Dobrev that an independent EU body should assess and distribute EU funding for Hungary, he said some MEPs already represented Brussels in Hungary instead of the other way round. The government, however, wants to see more MEPs represent Hungary in Brussels after the upcoming EP elections, he added.
On radical nationalist Mi Hazánk’s move to set up a paramilitary, he said the state maintained the sole right to operate an army.
Commenting on the International Investment Bank and its links to Russia, Gulyás said Hungary was following standard international practice on investment banks and the bank’s majority owners were central European countries.