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Cabinet Chief Talks Hospitals, Wage Hikes, New Bridge, US Soldiers And Migrant Crisis In Weekly Press Briefing

Tamás Székely 2016.12.15.

The Hungarian government has decided to settle debts overdue for more than 30 days owed by hospitals, to the value of 80 billion forints (EUR 255.1m), the government office chief said at at his weekly press conference. Part of this amount will be used to set up a development fund for hospitals, János Lázár said.

The government has also decided to raise the wages of social workers employed in health care to the level of those of healthcare workers. Public workers are also set to be given pay hikes, but this is still subject to talks between the interior and economy ministries, he added. He said the government projects a budget shortfall above 2% of GDP for this year. Lázár added that the government was also likely to raise its economic growth forecast for next year.

János Lázár revealed that the Prime Minister would be travelling to Szeged in January for talks with László Botka, the city’s (Socialist) mayor, on the Modern Cities programme. Plans are to build a 200 hectare industrial park and the government has also approved the construction of a new indoor swimming pool and a new bridge over the river Tisza in the city.

Asked about press reports suggesting that a contingent of US soldiers could be stationed in Hungary as part of a relocation programme, Lázár said the government had no knowledge of such developments, and that such a move would require the consent of parliament. He said the government was in support of bolstering the Hungarian army, adding that “we do not want foreign troops to be stationed on Hungary’s territory.” But whenever Hungary is asked by NATO to allow foreign troops to be stationed on its territory, the government always considers its obligations to the alliance, and complies with the request, Lázár said.

In connection with the ongoing EU summit in Brussels, where the migrant crisis is expected to be high on agenda, János Lázár said PM Viktor Orbán would be fighting a “major battle over the next 48 hours.” He added that the Hungarian Premier was bound by the decisions of Parliament and the Constitutional Court, therefore he has no authority to approve any EU proposal that would “force” the mandatory redistribution of migrants onto Hungary.

via hungarymatters.hu and MTI; photo: Zoltán Máthé – MTI