- 14 Oct 2016 9:00 AM
Lázár also said he thought the EU had so far done “ridiculously little” to protect the external borders. Lázár also commented on a recent editorial by The New York Times about Hungary’s migrant quota referendum, in which the paper’s editorial board said that “[Prime Minister Viktor] Orbán and other nationalists who are rejecting the liberal values of tolerance and free movement ... risk stirring animosities that less than a century ago led the Continent into world war.”
The government office chief said it was “obviously crazy” of the NYT “to imply that the Hungarian government is a Nazi government”. Commenting on recent remarks by certain European politicians who have suggested that the EU should suspend funding for Hungary, Lázár said that the EU’s founding treaty did not allow any way for a member state to be stripped of its rights to cohesion funds. If cohesion funds were to be suspended, Hungary would have to protect its economy, he said.
But Lázár insisted that fears of Hungary having its EU funds suspended were unfounded. He added, at the same time, that there was always a possibility that “political decisions” could be made against Hungary, but he insisted that such decisions would penalise the Hungarian people and not the government.
Lázár said he would travel to Brussels next Wednesday to clear up the situation around EU funding for Hungary. Lázár said Hungary was entitled to 8.9 trillion forints (EUR 29.1bn) in EU money in the current budgetary period, adding that tenders have already been called for 6.391 trillion forints, or 71% of the funds.
The government aims to call tenders for the remaining funds before the year is out, he added. Asked about the investigation into recent reports of organised criminals obtaining large quantities of SIM cards in Hungary, a large number of which are believed to have ended up in the hands of terrorists, Lázár said the Constitutional Protection Office was in contact with telecommunications service providers and was examining whether the system of distributing SIMs needed to be changed.
The matter will also be on the agenda in next Wednesday’s session of parliament’s national security committee, he added.
Lázár said he had offered to brief the national security committee about Hungarian-American financier George Soros’ influence in central Europe and the methods with which he said Soros attempts to “change” countries and influence policymakers.
Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.
MTI photo: Koszticsák Szilárd