Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, told a press briefing over the weekend that the government had not cancelled, merely postponed the start of its major health care-related investment projects in the capital, including the construction of a central hospital in southern Buda and the upgrade of the St. János Hospital. In response to another question, he said the government’s intentions regarding the takeover of Liszt Ferenc International Airport had not changed. On another subject, he said the government will raise the wages of teachers once Hungary is given access to the EU funds it is entitled to. He said the government was also expected to approve a proposal that requires primary schools to limit their heating to 20°C and secondary schools to 18°C. Asked about government support for the utility bills of health institutions, Gulyás said that no hospitals or clinics would close because of utility costs. Meanwhile, he said the government would also approve a measure that will increase lignite production. He said Hungary has enough gas storage at present to cover 89 winter days.
Concerning Democratic Coalition (DK) MEP Klára Dobrev’s decision to form a shadow cabinet, Gulyás said ruling Fidesz had been correct when it said that the “true leader of the left” was DK leader and Dobrev’s husband, Ferenc Gyurcsány. There has not yet been an attempt to set up a shadow cabinet in Hungarian politics, “but there’s already a shadow prime minister: Klára Dobrev, because it’s actually Ferenc Gyurcsány who’s controlling their executive branch”, Gulyás said.
Meanwhile, Gulyás denied as “untrue” press reports that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had raised the possibility of reviewing Hungary’s EU membership in 2030 at an annual civic event held in Kötcse, in western Hungary. The government has always found that the advantages of Hungary’s EU membership outweigh its disadvantages, mainly because of the common market, he said. Commenting on reports of opposition parties and politicians receiving funding from abroad, Gulyás said every such case would have to be investigated, adding that the ban on such financing needed to be respected by everyone. As regards abortion, he said the government has not tightened the relevant law in any way and women remained free to make their own decision in the matter. Gulyás said the government had approved provisions put forward by the College of Health Care Professions, adding that this did not impact women’s freedom of choice.