Gergely Gulyas – Photo: MTI

Gulyas: Ukraine’s financing should not be a part of the EU budget

Ukaine's financing should not be a part of the EU budget and it should not extend to beyond a single year, Gergely Gulyas, the head of the Prime Minister's Office, said in an interview on Sunday.
31. December 2023 17:58

The government is working to ensure that teachers’ pay rises by 32 percent on Jan 1, Gulyas said in the interview.

Accordingly, the government has published decrees with the wage details for social consultation, though this would first depend on technical approval by the European Commission, Gulyas said in the interview to commercial media outlet atv.hu. He said the government wanted teachers’ salaries to reach 80 percent of average pay, so another 20.8 percent increase was planned for 2025.

In the wide-ranging interview, he also broached the issues of Ukraine’s EU aspirations and financial support, the EU migration pact, changes to the government’s structure and next year’s EP elections.

Regarding Ukraine’s EU bid, he said the Slovaks and Austrians, like Hungary, did not back the country’s proposed membership of the bloc.

He also said that the payment of Hungary’s EU funds was not linked to Ukraine’s EU bid or changes to the EU budget framework.

In connection with EU conditions related to the country’s judiciary, Gulyas said Hungary’s parliament had passed related legislation in the spring. The EC should have confirmed this within 60 days and handed over the money owed to the country, he said, adding the commission “repeatedly broke their promises and delayed” handing over 10 billion euros until the day before the EU summit in December.

He said the EC had given the impression of blackmailing Hungary. “If anyone had the intention of blackmailing, it wasn’t us,” he added.

As regards financing for Ukraine, he said: “Giving or promising money to Ukraine with a four-year timescale is unreasonable and anti-democratic.” Such financing should not be a part of the EU budget and it should not extend to beyond a single year, he said. “And whatever the case, it should certainly not come from a joint EU loan,” he added.

On the topic of the EU migration pact, he said Hungary would refuse to accept migrants against the will of the people. Whereas Brussels was “pro-migration”, he said, many EU member states emphasised the importance of protecting the external border, knowing that “quite a few terrorists” had managed to enter the bloc in 2015 due to a lack of inspections and lax border controls.

Regarding planned government restructuring, Gulyas said regional public administration will be transferred to the new public administration and regional development ministry from the Prime Minister’s Office, and powers related to local governments will be handed over from the interior ministry. He added that regional public administration and local governments were closely linked to regional development and the new arrangement would enhance the efficacy of decision-making.

Asked about ties between Hungary and the US, Gulyas said the current American administration was focused on the “ideological differences between the two governments” instead of seeking opportunities to cooperate. He added it was of telling symbolism that America had a double taxation treaty with Russia but not with Hungary.

On the topic of the EP elections next year, he said it would be satisfactory to have 21 MEPs “representing Hungarian interests”. In the current cycle, however, “eight [Hungarian MEPs] … worked to condemn and penalise Hungary financially,” he added.

Regarding next year’s local elections, Gulyas said he believed Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony was “beatable”, and confirmed that Fidesz would put forward its mayoral candidate by March at the latest.

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