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Lázár: Despite drop in GDP, growth projections remain

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(Photo: MT/Szilárd Koszticsák)

Many factors lie behind the contraction in GDP in the first quarter, including a dramatic decrease in EU funds being funneled into Hungary, but the government has no plans to alter its growth projections for the year, Hungary’s Cabinet Chief János Lázár said today. In his weekly press conference, Lázár also discussed the governmentʼs plans for City Park, as well as corruption.

Cabinet Chief János Lázár at his weekly press conference. (Photo: MT/Szilárd Koszticsák)  

Speaking at his weekly press conference, Lázár said that the EU paid out only HUF 200 billion in funds this year whereas last year it paid out HUF 480 billion, but the government said it plans to speed up drawdowns for the remainder of the year. 

Regarding the Városliget (City Park) project, Lázár said that the park will be completely renewed and green spaces will increase while built-up areas will decrease and the whole development is expected to cost HUF 15 billion. Lázár said the government has answered all queries regarding the project, which it anticipates will be completed by 2019.

In response to a question about retail giant Tesco being squeezed out of the local market, Lázár said that this depends on the Hungarian agricultural sector: The government can’t help Hungarian farmers until the country’s has its own large retail chain.

Regarding allegations of corruption, Lázár said that Hungary is no more corrupt than any other country in the region. Lázár added that the government has no patience for corruption, however, there is a good chance that opposition parties will use corruption as a campaign platform.

With regard to the large scale, country-wide information campaign on the referendum for the Brussels refugee quota, government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács said the exact cost of the campaign cannot be known until the campaign runs its course but he estimates it will reach approximately HUF 3 billion.

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