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Apr 06, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán announces five new programs to protect the economy

In a brief video statement on public television, Prime Minister Orbán announced the launch of five new programs focused on protecting Hungary’s economy. “We will create as many jobs as the epidemic destroys,” he said.

“We need to fight the epidemic and its economic challenges simultaneously,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán began his brief press statement announcing five new programs aimed at protecting Hungary’s economy.

“We will create as many jobs as the epidemic destroys,” he said before presenting the details of the action plan.

According to the prime minister, the economy protection action plan will bring about the restructuring of 18 to 20 percent of Hungary’s GDP in three cycles. We are already beyond the first cycle (read more here and here), and the second one will include five programs, PM Orbán said. At the same time, he continued, we will need to depart from the 2020 budget, as the government deficit goal will be increased to 2.7 percent from 1 percent.

The first program, the PM said, focuses on preserving jobs. The government will, among other measures, take over a portion of wage payments from firms that have had to resort to shortened work hours due to the coronavirus epidemic. As a second step, the government will allocate HUF 450 billion (EUR 1.23 billion) to investments for job creation.

The third step is to provide support for hard-hit economic sectors, such as tourism and hospitality. According to PM Orbán’s statement, the economic package’s fourth measure makes HUF 2 trillion worth of preferential, government-backed loans available to Hungarian companies.

“The name of the fifth initiative is Family and Pensioner Protection Program,” PM Orbán said, adding that his government will gradually reintroduce 13th month pensions. “In these difficult times, we must not forget about the pensioners,” PM Orbán said.

Coming to his closing remarks, PM Orbán said that Innovation Minister László Palkovics will oversee the economy protection programs and Minister Andrea Bártfai-Mager will link public companies to the package. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Mihály Varga must guarantee the resources for the action plan.

“If we take care of each other, we will succeed,” Prime Minister Orbán concluded.