The 2019 budget approved by parliament on Friday is a sign of progress, as the government ensures more funding for all priority areas, Csaba Dömötör, the state secretary of the Cabinet Office, said on public radio on Sunday.
Lawmakers have wound up a busy period following the general election in the spring, approving constitutional amendments prohibiting the resettlement in the country of foreign nationals without right of residency or freedom of movement and requiring state institutions to defend Christian values, a law criminalising the organisation of illegal immigration, and the 2019 budget which ensures security and economic growth, Csaba Dömötör said on Kossuth Radio.
The government aims for a strong country with a growing economy, while ensuring security, without which sustainable growth cannot be achieved, he added.
This is supported further by the expansion of family subsidies, as a result of which families with two children will enjoy a 40,000 forint (EUR 123) monthly tax preference next year. Payroll taxes will also fall, allowing employers room to continue wage increases, Dömötör said.
In the public sector, soldiers and police as well as nurses can count on wage increases, too, he said. Jobs present the shortest way out of poverty, which is why it’s important that more than 700,000 workplaces have been created since 2010, he added.
Dömötör chided the opposition for failing to take a look at the figures in the 2019 budget. Contrary to their claims, funding for healthcare is up more than 100 billion forints and funding for defense has risen some 150 billion forints, while local councils will get over 200 billion forints more.
Dömötör noted that one Socialist MP had failed to show up for the vote on their own motion to amend a bill submitted by the government, and that a number of Socialist Party leaders were thought to have left on vacation before the end of the summer session on Friday. Radical nationalist Jobbik asked for support for a municipality that doesn’t even exist, other than in a television series, he added.
Hungary is not the only country struggling with “organisations financed from abroad operating in a non-transparent manner to support and organise immigration”, he said. The aim of the “Stop Soros” package is to create an effective deterrent for such activities, he added, noting that the law has nothing to do with offering humanitarian aid, for which there is an appropriate legal framework.
The legislation targets groups that would give asylum to immigrants who have no right to claim refugee status, he said.
The government considers the launch of an infringement procedure regarding the package as pressure from Brussels, Dömötör said. “Sometimes they try to break Hungary by legal means and other times by financial means,” he added.
The European Union’s seven-year budget draft is a cause for concern, as it allocates more for migration and fails to place stress on the necessary issues, he said. Instead of border defense, the EU speaks about border management, which could mean a new legal framework for permanent immigration, he added.
Brussels also wants to harmonise the process of applying for asylum, which presents the danger that “deciding who is a refugee and who is an economic immigrant is taken out of our hands,” Dömötör said. Just because resettlement quotas were not approved most recently, “does not mean they won’t try again, so we have to be prepared”, he added.
Hungary can only be strong in the long term if Europe doesn’t weaken in the meantime, he said. Giving up Europe’s cultural values and irreversibly transforming into a multicultural society is by no means the right answer to demographic or economic problems, he added.
“We want to imagine a Europe founded on nation states in future, too,”
Dömötör said. These nation states must take strategic decisions which determine their existence themselves; this creates greater accountability and strengthens democracy, he added.
The Hungarian government has sufficient support among the members of society to deal with these issues, he said. The general election on April as well as the results of a number of public consultations confirm that Hungarians want to take measures against illegal immigration and preserve their national identity, and they have mandated the government to act on these matters, he added.