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PMO Head Gulyás on EU Funds: ‘It is our money; money due to us regardless’

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.11.27.

“Under no scenario ” would Hungary miss out on receiving EU funds, the head of the prime minister’s office said at the regular government press briefing. Gergely Gulyás added that the Hungarian government continued to reject attempts to tie European Union funding to “politically motivated conditions”.

Gulyás said Hungary would refuse to submit to curbing its sovereign independence when it came to important issues, even if that meant hindering the EU’s multiannual budget and its recovery fund.

He said Hungary was currently getting an annual net 4 billion euros from the EU while EU companies were taking 6 billion euros of profits out of Hungary each year. Contrary to claims, especially suggested by opposition parties in Hungary, that the country was getting a charitable donation from the EU, the Europeans were getting significant profits through these companies. The companies are indeed introducing modern technologies and work ethics in Hungary, so it is a mutually beneficial, win-win situation, he added.

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Gulyás said that in order to preserve this situation, the current regulations need to be maintained and the status quo preserved.

We do not owe anybody anything for receiving EU resources. It is our money; money due to us regardless,” he added.

The resources from the 2021 budget can be used for another two years, he said, adding that Hungary’s financial fundamentals were “solid” until 2023, even if it “does not receive a cent” from international financial markets.

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Meanwhile, Gulyás said the economy faced “a significant recession” this year of 6 percent negative growth as opposed to the initial target of an expansion of 4 percent, he said, adding that growth would turn around next year. Regarding the EU budget and recovery package, Gulyás said Hungary and Poland had “received no offer” that would stop them from vetoing the package.

So veto it is.”

He said that linking the payment of EU support to rule of law conditions went against the Lisbon Treaty. The Lisbon Treaty includes an Article 7 procedure, and if rule-of-law issues are raised, they can be cleared as part of such a procedure, he added.

Regarding “political conditionality”, Gulyás said financier George Soros’ article this week on the Project Syndicate website had made clear that the political condition for EU funding was acceptance of immigration, adding that “Hungary continues to reject that,”

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Hungary is fighting for the right of all future governments to freely decide whom Hungarians want to live with in their country, he said.

Gulyás added that experiences from recent years suggested that Brussels only considered countries that failed to protect their borders and allowed migrants in as upholders of the rule of law.

Hungarians, he said, had clearly made a decision to reject immigration in a referendum as well as the general election, he said.

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Commenting on the German presidency’s proposal to open the possibility of an appeal to the European Court regarding any possible rule-of-law penalties, Gulyás said this was a “step in the right direction”. But since the proposal contained no clear, objective criteria that could be subject to review, it was “not enough”, he added. Closing the Article 7 procedure against Hungary would not be an incentive to abstain from the veto, Gulyás said. “Sanctions at the end of that procedure would require unanimity, and so it presents no great danger,” he said.

Commenting on the German foreign minister’s statement that a decision on the budget and recovery package is imminent, Gulyás said Heiko Maas’s words “mirrored the optimism that the situation can be resolved, rather than an objective description of the situation”. “Hungary can’t, and won’t, abandon its long-held standpoint,” he said.

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Featured photo by Gergely Botár/PM’s Press Office