bne IntelliNews – Hungarian government declares new state of emergency

The tenth amendment to the constitution that Orban pushed through in 2011 gives the radical right-wing government the power to declare a state of emergency in the event of armed conflict, war or humanitarian disaster in a neighboring country.

The government has argued that it needs the necessary leeway to allow it to react immediately and use all available tools to defend Hungarian families.

The new legal order paves the way for the cabinet to circumvent parliament in passing decrees, such as during the pandemic. The Hungarian Prime Minister promised to disclose the first decisions taken under the new legal order on Wednesday.

“We have seen that the war and the Brussels sanctions have caused great economic upheaval and drastic price increases. The world is on the verge of an economic crisis. Hungary must stay out of this war and must protect security families,” Orban said, adding that there was “no end in sight” to the war in Ukraine.

“This war poses a permanent danger to Hungary, it endangers our physical security and endangers the economy as well as the energy supply and material security of families,” he said.

Opposition parties argue the government abused its power when it ordered special legal orders during the pandemic. The government has used the state of emergency to prohibit strikes and the severing of professional contacts by health workers and the armed forces, and to delay the release of public data.

Representative health groups have warned of an exodus from the public health service once the executive order barring staff from leaving their posts expires on May 31.

Speaking ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of his fifth government, Orban said Hungary needs a spirited and responsible government that unites the country while showing necessary strength. The tasks of the new cabinet are defined by “the dangers and especially the war”.

The fifth Orban government will have 11 ministers and three ministers without portfolio.

The new names include former MOL chief executive and Hungarian ambassador to London Janos Csak, who will lead a new culture and innovation ministry. The 59-year-old economist will also be in charge of family policy, culture, higher education, vocational training and innovation.

Introducing Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky, the new defense minister, Orban said Hungary’s Zrinyi defense development program could make Hungary’s military one of the most capable in the region. The war next door “shows how irresponsible it was to let the military and defense take a back seat on the continent,” the prime minister said.

Szalay-Bobrovniczky, the husband of government spokeswoman Alexandra Szentkiralyi, raises a serious conflict of interest because he owns a majority stake in Czech aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody, which recently signed a state contract. sell 12 planes in the state. The businessman acquired the Czech company with a loan of 150 million euros from the public development bank MFB, 80% of which was backed by a state guarantee.

Former chief of staff Janos Lazar will lead the new construction and investment ministry. He was tasked with ensuring that state resources spent on investment are used efficiently, renewing building regulations and protecting built heritage, the prime minister said.

Orban said he expected Marton Nagy, minister without portfolio for economic development and economic adviser to the prime minister, to “help Hungary’s development with innovative economic policy decisions rooted in Hungarian logic even though some of them won’t help him make friends”.

Former European Commissioner Tibor Navracsics has been appointed Minister for Regional Development and the Use of European Funds. He has the best chance to navigate “between the cogs of Brussels bureaucrats and Hungarian MEPs”, he added.

Laura T. Thrasher