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Gergely Gulyás, the head of the PM’s Office, in response to a question about the planned revamp of Budapest’s Chain Bridge, said he could not see the reason why the project was not being started unless it was Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony’s preference to be involved in political disputes. Every effort is being made to maintain good cooperation between the government and municipal council but it appears the city council is grabbing every opportunity for dispute, he added.
Commenting on the proposals for spending the costs of the Aug 20 fireworks on the bridge revamp instead, he said a decision must first be made, in mid-July, whether the fireworks could be held safely. If Hungary aims to restart its economy and tourism, then holding fireworks in Budapest and in cities of county seat status around Hungary would rather be desirable, he added.
Meanwhile, Gulyás expressed his sympathy on behalf of the government to the families of deceased Olympic champion water polo players György Kárpáti and Tibor Benedek and said their passing had been an extreme loss to Hungarian sports life.
Asked about potential changes to the Itemised Tax for Small Businesses (KATA), Gulyás said he agreed that it would be worthwhile to review the structure and eligibility criteria of the tax. He added, at the same time, that the government was focused on ensuring economic stability for the time being and has decided against any changes to the tax for now. Concerning aid to Hungarian small businesses in western Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region, the PM’s Office chief said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade was disbursing 25 billion forints among Hungarian companies that invest beyond the border.
As regards the vandalisation of Winston Churchill’s statue in City Park and the Black Lives Matter movement, Gulyás said the government agreed with Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony that it was wrong to damage the statue. He added that the incident was “a direct consequence” of the goals and actions of Black Lives Matter.
On the topic of a bill aimed at preventing a repeat of the Gyöngyöspata school segregation case, Gulyás said the ruling on the compensation payments was binding and there “is nothing the government can do about it”. But in the event of a similar affair in the future, students would have to be compensated in education, he added. As regards the government’s decision to close the transit zones on the southern border, Gulyás said the government had complied with an EU decision which he said had contradicted a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. Gulyás added that he believed the transit zones had been the best and most humane solution when it came to housing asylum seekers.