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May 26, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

Operational Group: The government is doing its utmost to save jobs

Besides wage subsidies, the government has allocated HUF 80 billion to create 70,000 jobs; meanwhile, foreign investors need permission from the ITM minister to acquire ownership in strategic Hungarian companies.

Starting today’s briefing of the Operational Group, Tamás Schanda, Deputy Minister of the Ministry for Technology and Innovation (ITM), reported that “there is a huge interest in wage subsidies, with some 126,000 people requesting help.” “Those with employers who have reduced their working hours can apply for the subsidies,” he explained, adding that “there is also a huge demand for special R&D wage subsidies; more than 10,000 people have requested this type of allowance.”

Schanda noted that in the situation created by the epidemic, the government is doing its utmost to protect jobs and has launched an Economy Protection Action Plan, funded with HUF 80 billion and aimed at helping 70,000 jobseekers get back to work. However, in parallel with protecting jobs, the government also seeks to protect its key partners – Hungarian-owned companies. To protect Hungarian companies in bad financial shape from unfair foreign acquisition, a government decree now mandates that “until the end of 2020, a foreign player can only acquire ownership in key sectors and strategically important companies with the permission of the minister.”

“These intentions to acquire ownership must be reported to the ITM minister, who can authorize or prohibit the transaction,” the deputy minister said, adding that this new regulation “applies to priority sectors such as defense, energy, chemicals, and food.”

Touching upon the latest coronavirus data, Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller reported that “the rate [of infection] has reversed, with more people recovering from coronavirus than becoming infected.” She added that “the virus must be eradicated from closed communities, where testing will continue in the second phase; currently, 33 institutes are affected by the epidemic, to varying degrees.”

Finally, Lieutenant Colonel Róbert Kiss announced that “the government will submit a bill on the repeal of the special legal order to parliament this afternoon,” adding that “the bill will also include provisions that are worth maintaining during the [ongoing] epidemiological preparedness.”