- 24 Jun 2015 9:00 AM
The Minister responsible for overseeing the operations of the Bureau of Intelligence told the Committee: the Government supports the Hungarian minority living in Transcarpathia, and seeks to protect the interests of the people who live there.
It is a daily challenge for the Hungarian intelligence services and public administration to provide support for the Hungarians in Transcarpathia because these efforts are blocked by Ukraine, which leads to “minor diplomatic conflicts”, he said.
Show trials have been instituted against Hungarians in Romania, and the government is engaged in explicitly anti-Hungarian activities under the slogan and pretext of justice and transparency, the Minister said.
As part of the anti-Hungarian stance that may be observed in the administration of justice in Romania, attempts are being made to foil the operations of the Hungarian historical churches and to destabilise their financial situation, which is also contrary to the right of the free exercise of religion, Mr Lázár added.
He remarked: at this point in time, they are unable to tell whether these events have anything to do with the close cooperation between the United States and the Romanian government.
The Minister referred to the actions taken by the Croatian government in connection with the Mol-INA case as nothing short of unprecedented, and said that the purpose of these actions is to discredit the entire business elite of Hungary and to drag the entire senior management of Mol into criminal proceedings. He added: there are parties and political forces in Croatia which openly campaign with anti-Hungarian slogans.
According to the Minister, there is a “wilful and conscious boycott” behind the fact that the Romanian-Croatian gas pipeline has not been completed yet in the direction of Hungary.
Mr Lázár emphasised: Hungary cannot renounce the ongoing protection of the interests of the Hungarians living in the Carpathian Basin, and the Bureau of Intelligence plays a key role in this effort.
The Minister said: the three most important partners of Hungarian intelligence are the German, Israeli and US intelligence services, and the fact that relations between the United States and Hungary significantly deteriorated last year due to the assessment of the internal political situation in Hungary and “have been less than satisfactory has not made the activities of the Hungarian intelligence services any easier”.
The Minister also mentioned that the Bureau of Intelligence surveyed the interest groups which attempted to discredit Hungary. In this context, he referred to the study of the German Council on Foreign Relations which uncovered how the German press is distorting the image of Hungary with the assistance of contacts in the US. He indicated that the Bureau of Intelligence is particularly focusing on action designed to influence the perception of Hungary abroad.
We have very definite information about the economic groups in Hungary which render their economic grievances caused by the Government the subject-matter of infringement procedures in the EU, the Minister stated.
There is a shocking degree of lobbying going on in the various infringement procedures of a business nature instituted against Hungary in the interest of the easing of the tax laws and the introduction of more favourable regulations in the economy to combat the efforts of Hungary’s legislature, Mr Lázár said.
The Minister also said that there is major potential in the fact that the Permanent Representation of Hungary in Brussels and intelligence gathering operate under the auspices of a single organisational unit, the Prime Minister’s Office, as the country is better-equipped to enforce its interests in the decision-making process in Brussels with the assistance of the intelligence service.
In answer to the question of Zsolt Molnár (MSZP), Chair of the Committee, the Minister said: the disputes between Brussels and Hungary are in a process of restructuring. Disputes of an economic nature – disputes regarding competition law, prohibited state aid and the issue of non-discrimination – will intensify significantly in the future, compared with debates on fundamental rights of freedom and democracy, because we have already fought our fights and concluded these debates.
This time, money and economic interests will take centre stage, and we must not underestimate the forces which are losing out in Hungary and therefore take their grievances to Brussels, he said.
A considerable proportion of Hungary’s political elite was very wrong in believing after Hungary’s accession to NATO and the EU that the security of the country “has been taken care of”, Mr Lázár said. For instance, the protection of our borders falls within national competence, and we either seal the borders, or take care of their protection “with live force”, but the latter would not be any less costly, he added.
Mr Molnár also asked the Minister how the Government intends to handle the issue of illegal migration until the closure of the southern border is completed. Mr Lázár answered that the Government will decide on this on Wednesday. He stressed: Hungary simply cannot take the security risks which illegal border-crossers present.
In answer to a question from Bernadett Szél (LMP), the Minister said in connection with the recent gas trading transactions: MVM, the Hungarian electricity company observed every legal rule as well as the decisions of its owners when it entered into a contract with the company MET.
He drew attention to the fact that, in the case of contracts concluded before 2012, there is no scope for calling to account whether they were concluded without the screening of the proprietary structure. The Minister said he sees no national security risks in the fact that the State concluded a contract with a private business, in line with its business policy decision.
The Minister said in reply to another question from the MP for LMP: he has serious doubts about the conclusion of the free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union, and the consequences of the agreement for the economy and society should be explored.
In answer to the question of Ádám Mirkóczki (Jobbik), Mr Lázár pointed out that the Bureau of Intelligence is continuously assessing to what extent the emergence of the heavy weaponry of the United States in Eastern-Europe would improve or deteriorate the situation.
János Lázár told the Committee: the Government provides all technical conditions necessary for the operation of the Bureau of Intelligence, including the replacement of the required technical equipment. However, the issue of personnel is a much more serious problem, given that hundreds of people should be replaced with succession staff which takes time.