Disputes of unprecedented ferocity expected with Brussels

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Government expects to have disputes of unprecedented ferocity with Brussels in May and June with respect to the issue of the distribution of immigrants, János Lázár, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office said at the press conference Governmentinfo 84 which he held jointly with Government Spokesperson Zoltán Kovács.

Mr Lázár indicated: the hearing in the quota lawsuit will be held at the Court of Justice of the European Union on 10 May to which Hungary submitted a petition, together with Slovakia, in order to stop the mandatory nature of the quota decision. In his view, in the next few weeks we should expect both the European Commission and the European Parliament to seek to put pressure on Hungary, and there will be disputes of unprecedented ferocity with Brussels in May and June. Certain groups in both bodies, primarily the liberals, want to achieve that Hungary should also take part in the distribution of migrants based on quotas, he said.

According to the Minister, Brussels „will mix in everything with this issue”, both the national consultation and the case of the CEU. He further remarked that Germany, too, „is on the opposite side”, and it is therefore not surprising that even government-party politicians speak up in the interest of the quotas. He also said that the outcome of the dispute is doubtful.

We cannot tolerate anyone organising immigrants at the border

The Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office pointed out that the Hungarian Government has a problem with György Soros, but this has nothing to do with the CEU, the students studying there or the instructors teaching at the institution. He said: there is a dispute on account of the opinion of the American businessman of Hungarian origin regarding immigration, but the two issues must be handled separately.

What György Soros has done in connection with illegal immigration in recent years violates Hungary’s national security interests. We cannot tolerate anyone organising immigrants to approach the border and forcing us into an undesirable situation, he said.

The Minister highlighted: the Government wants to stop immigration, while György Soros wants to organise it. It is likewise not tenable that „organisations associated with Soros” sue the Hungarian State and want to force it to open the borders, he stated.

New legislation does not restrict freedom of learning

Mr Lázár highlighted: in the field of education, they want equal opportunities and clear competition rules in order to put an end to the competitive disadvantage of Hungarian universities. He stated: in the case, „we are ready to answer” the questions of Brussels, Washington and Berlin equally. „György Soros and his network” have put considerable pressure on Brussels, Washington and Berlin, „there is ongoing lobbying against Hungary”, but we are going to protect the country against these organisations and attempts, he stressed.

He argued: they reviewed foreign universities operating in Hungary, this led to a report, and the law followed in consequence. It is evident based on the legislation of other countries that the State – by exercising its right of sovereignty – regulates the foundation and operation of universities, he said, adding: he takes the view that there is a storm of hysterical political hype being created.

According to Mr Lázár, the consensus that when elected Members of Parliament vote for a law, it applies to everyone, appears to have been refuted. He said: in the new legislation, they proposed that there should be equal opportunities among universities, there should be fair and normal conditions, foreign universities should have actual, state-recognised higher education activities in their countries of origin, and there should be an international agreement between the two countries concerned regarding such institutions. The CEU is able to meet these conditions, the legislation is not disproportionate, nor discriminatory, and creates a transparent system, he said expressing his view.

He asked the question of why the CEU wants to call the legality and legitimacy of the legislation into question, instead of meeting the conditions. He also said that „some groups” have a vested interest in creating tensions, rather than solving the situation.

He said: regarding this case, there should be an atmosphere of calm, composure and fairness in Hungary, but in the coming days the „Soros network will most probably continue to apply pressure”. Parliament passed a good law, we must explain why it was necessary and we must explain the provisions of the law; “we have gained quite a bit of experience” in doing that in recent years, he said. He took the view that, on the whole, we may observe the preparations for forcing the migration quotas on us. If there is also a law about the transparency of non-governmental organisations, there will, no doubt, be questions and threats regarding that legislation as well, but in actual fact, it is all about the quotas, and the case of the CEU is being used in this dispute, he stated.

The Minister said that it is accepted also in the European People’s Party that there are some who have a different view on this matter; it is their responsibility to provide fair information, and to answer the questions in a calm and composed manner.

He highlighted: the CEU has achieved results in a number of fields, it has an intellectual inner circle which is biased in favour of the university, but even they cannot dispute that Parliament has the right to legislate regarding the conditions, under which a university can obtain an operating licence, and meeting these conditions cannot pose a problem for the CEU. In answer to a question related to the demonstrations in favour of the CEU, Mr Lázár said: at all major gatherings and demonstrations plain-clothes police officers are also involved in the maintenance of order, this is standard routine and normal.

In answer to the question of whether President of the Republic János Áder will sign the law, the Minister said: it is the right of the head of state to decide, „it is not befitting for a Minister to answer a question like this”

He said in reply to a question: the article of The Times about the possible exclusion of Hungary and Poland from the EU is not a serious report, but is indicative of the fact that pressure is being exerted on Hungary on the issues of immigration and migration.

In answer to the question as to whether Russia is using Hungary as a tool for propaganda purposes, Mr Lázár said: „if Russia is looking for tools, they look elsewhere”, Russia has its own means if they wish to influence Western-Europe. „They hardly need Hungary”, but Hungary is in an important position in the European debates that are taking place at present.



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