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Coronavirus: Szijjártó Calls for Lifting EU Ban on State Financing to Investments

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.06.03.

Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó on Wednesday renewed his call on the European Union to remove its restrictions on state investment subsidies.

After a videoconference of the Visegrád Group plus the Nordic-Baltic Eight group of countries, Szijjártó said on Facebook that job creation hinged on new investments.

With a view to saving jobs, the Hungarian government has supported 806 Hungarian companies from a fund of 170 billion forints (EUR 491m) while staying below the EU’s cap of 800,000 euros per project, he said, calling for the cap to be removed before year-end.

Members states should be allowed to freely finance projects from their national budget, he said, adding that saving jobs and creating new ones should be the focus of European policymaking.

European Commission Green-Lights New Investment Support System

On another subject, Szijjártó said that European countries had been “in a vulnerable position” when “everybody was queuing up” to buy medical equipment from China during the coronavirus crisis. He said this should be borne in mind when shaping Europe’s China policy. “Cooperation must be pragmatic and mutual,” Szijjártó said, adding that applying double standards, whereby big countries benefit from cooperation with China at the expense of small countries, should be avoided.

Concerning Hungary’s law that granted the government enhanced powers to handle the epidemic, Szijjártó noted that the special powers had been rescinded by parliament at the proposal of the government. The minister dismissed “fake news and lies spread by several European governments” that Hungarian parliament had been suspended and the government had intended to rule by decree “for good”.

The Hungarian government “does not care what other countries think”, the minister said, adding that “the government shapes Hungary’s policies based on the opinions and expectations of Hungarians”.

Featured photo by Márton Mónus/MTI