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Hungary is set to secure a key area of policymaking in the European Commission which will be of great significance to the European Union’s future, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás said. President-elect of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen’s selection of László Trócsányi as the commissioner-designate for EU neighbourhood and enlargement is a recognition of both the country and its candidate, Gulyás told a regular press briefing. He said there was a pressing need to integrate the Balkans into the EU and accession talks should be started or accelerated with every country that meets the requirements. He said that in the EP hearings of the candidates, Trócsányi was likely to be attacked because the portfolio is closely linked to the controversial issue of migration. Such attacks against Trócsányi, he added, would be revenge for Hungary’s position on migration policy. “The portfolio is Hungary’s, and people should think twice before attacking Trócsányi because he is one of the most suitable candidates,” Gulyás said.
In response to a question concerning the forint’s exchange rate, Gulyás said the government had no target for the exchange rate and the independence of the central bank would be respected. The weakening of the forint is much less important today considering that the majority of debtors have already been rescued from the “forex debt trap”, he added. Concerning the effect of the weaker forint on the budget, he said the exchange rate change brought in extra revenues as well as resulting in additional losses. The recent exchange rate change has not been so extreme as to warrant a response at the level of Hungarian economic policy, he added.
In response to a question, Gulyás also said that a constitutional amendment was not on the agenda and there were no plans to change the section about marriage defined as an alliance between a man and a woman for the purpose of having children.
Concerning the upcoming local elections, he said Budapest Mayor István Tarlós had been successful because he has cooperated with the government. Opposition candidate Gergely Karácsony “would be obviously be unable to cooperate, and this makes him unsuitable for the post.” Asked about opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) MEP Klára Dobrev and her comments concerning local authorities in future being able to apply directly for EU funding, Gulyás said the way in which funding was disbursed, whereby EU funds are directed to member states, would not change. He said the proportion of subsidies directly paid to local authorities was negligible, and this would remain the case. Asked about whether the Hungarian embassy in Syria would be reopened, Gulyás said the government supported reconstruction, but no decision had yet been made about whether to open the embassy.