The opposition Párbeszéd party has called on the government to desist from submitting bills to parliament that are unrelated to its response to the novel coronavirus epidemic under the state of emergency. Addressing an online press conference, Párbeszéd lawmaker Olivio Kocsis-Cake said that despite having promised to only draft bills under the state of emergency that are related to combatting the virus, the government had recently submitted multiple proposals that had “nothing to do with” the epidemic.
He noted that the government has submitted proposals that include scrapping a ban on the construction of buildings in Budapest’s City Park that have not yet received a construction permit, appointing ministry officials to the supervisory boards of theatres operated by the capital, and classifying details of the upgrade of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line as secret for ten years.
After coming under pressure, it also recently withdrew a bill that would have stripped some powers from local mayors in a state of emergency, Kocsis-Cake noted. Párbeszéd is not questioning the government’s authority to make swift decisions concerning the response to the coronavirus outbreak, he said, adding at the same time, that it was unclear how these bills would contribute to that. Kocsis-Cake noted that his party has recently called for the provision of more protective equipment and supplementary pay for health-care workers and the introduction of a universal basic income for businesses for the duration of the state of emergency. Párbeszéd’s proposals have also included the introduction of a solidarity tax, using monies flowing into sports organisations through tax refunds to upgrade hospitals and extending unemployment benefits from three to nine months, he said.