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Mar 11, 2020

PM Orbán pledges government support for those affected by the coronavirus

PM Orbán said that rather than introducing blanket macroeconomic measures, specific sectors such as tourism would need targeted help, and the government is prepared to create the appropriate financial conditions.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has pledged government support for economic players that suffer losses due to the coronavirus.

During an event organized by the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK), PM Orbán referred to a new action plan in the making to protect the economy, and asked the chamber to collect and forward by the end of April feedback from economic players concerning which sectors are expected to experience difficulties.

According to MTI, PM Orbán said that rather than introducing blanket macroeconomic measures, specific sectors such as tourism would need targeted help, and the government is prepared to create the appropriate financial conditions.

The prime minister said the budgets for this year and next will be redrafted to take into consideration additional billions of euros needed for economic stimulation measures. Solutions must be geared towards ensuring that the economic downturn does not match that of the 2008-2009 economic crisis and Hungary must maintain its growth advantage over the EU. PM Orbán said preparations must be made for a global pandemic, adding that “everyone must step out of their comfort zone”.

PM Orbán said China took five-six months to slow the virus down, which for Europe would mean the epidemic would last until the peak of the tourist season in July.

The prime minister warned that preparations must be made for brutal changes. “If all we do in the next ten years is as much as we did in the past ten, then we will be ruined,” he said. On top of that, Brexit carries with it industrial policy considerations, he said.

PM Orbán said the associated fallout contained elements that may badly affect Hungary’s competitive advantage. Among the achievements, he noted consistent deficits of below 3 percent of GDP since 2012, while public debt has been pushed down to 66 percent of GDP. He said this would soon fall below 60 percent.

The prime minister said the government aimed to eliminate foreign currency debt and finance Hungarian government debt in forints.

PM Orbán praised the Hungarian central bank’s monetary policy, saying that in 2019 spending on servicing debt had declined by HUF 900 billion compared with 2012.

The prime minister said the government’s success over the past ten years rested on a number of factors, including economic policymakers who were brave enough to take risky measures such as repaying IMF debt, thereby regaining the confidence of economic players and foreign investors.

A call center set up for advice on the coronavirus can be reached on +36-80-277-455 and +36-80-277-456 or by email under koronavirus@bm.gov.hu.

Photo credit: Index