Gulyas: EU funds earmarked for support of migrants should be spent on border control

Funds earmarked by the European Union for the support of migrants should instead be spent on protecting the bloc’s external borders, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office said on Thursday.

At his regular press briefing, Gergely Gulyas said it was “unacceptable” that while the EU was supporting “countless forms of migration” and providing migrants with financial aid with a view to helping with their integration, it had not supported Hungary’s border protection efforts. The 300 billion forints (EUR 938.5m) Hungary has spent on border protection was financed entirely from the state budget, Gulyas said. The EU has not reimbursed any of those costs, he added.

He welcomed that a provision opposed by the Hungarian government, under which the EU’s border agency Frontex could intervene in a member state’s border protection efforts without the country’s consent, had been left out of an agreement recently approved by the European Parliament on bolstering the agency’s staff. Gulyas said that next month, Europeans should elect a European Parliament that fights migration instead of supporting it.

In response to a question, Gulyas said ruling Fidesz had yet to agree on a date with the European People’s Party for the visit of the grouping’s delegation, adding, however, that a visit was likely to happen after the EP elections.

Asked about the Hungarian government’s contribution to the reconstruction of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, the PM’s Office chief said Hungary was ready to help if France indicated how Hungary could be of assistance.

Commenting on press reports that members of Russia’s secret service conducted lie detector tests on Hungarian national security agents in 2007, Gulyas said the documents that have been released to the public on the matter clearly indicated “unprecedented levels of treason”. He said it was “both treasonous and irresponsible” to “smuggle” intelligence agents of a “non-ally country” into the Hungarian national security office.

Referring to accusations against former Jobbik MEP Bela Kovacs that he spied on the European Union on behalf of Russia, Gulyas said it was “no wonder” that Jobbik and leftist opposition Democratic Coalition “have come together in serving Russian interests”.

Gulyas also said the government had discussed a strategy proposed by innovation minister Laszlo Palkovics on “switching over” public transport to electric vehicles and supplying as many buses from domestic production as possible. The government supports and finances the acquisition of 3,000 electric buses in the current term, he added. He said this would reduce air pollution in large cities and even if electric buses are still more expensive, it is hoped that increasing domestic production of such buses will reduce the total cost. The target is that within three years, new buses introduced in public transport should be all electric, he said.

Commenting on the Socialists’ promise to introduce a congestion fee in Budapest, he said the government continued to be against this and did not want to introduce an extra burden.

Source and photo: MTI

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