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GULYÁS URGES BROAD COOPERATION

 

Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, has said protective measures may be needed in months ahead, and he called on people and politicians to cooperate fully in fighting the novel coronavirus epidemic. Gulyás told parliament that the number of infections is growing, but compared with other European countries, Hungary was doing well and protective measures of recent weeks had lived up to expectations. The spread of the epidemic has slowed down and hospitals are not experiencing any capacity deficiencies, he added.
Gulyás noted the government has allocated 378 billion forints (EUR 1.04bn) for the purpose of covering the cost of protective measures, but this may be increased according to need. He added that half of state funding for political parties will be redirected to this reserve, as will local council transport revenues totalling 34 billion forints. Banks are being asked to contribute 55 billion forints, while a special tax on multinationals will yield another 36 billion forints, he added.
Gulyás praised the government’s moves to generate most of special financing from the state’s own resources. He said opposition criticism of the government’s measure to divert some local council revenues to the central fund, which amounts to 3-4% of their total revenues, reflected their failure to comprehend the seriousness of the situation. In 2010, the last year when the Socialists were in government, the budget for local councils was around 1,800 billion forints. Currently they have a similar budget, except that the government has taken responsibility for health care and education, and taken over debt totalling 1,400 billion forints, he added.