Hungarian government outlines policy positions for 2024

In the year's first Government Information press conference, Minister Gergely Gulyás and government spokesperson Alexandra Szentkirályi provided updates on the government's current initiatives and policy positions. The session encompassed an array of topics, including the management of EU funds, social policies, and salary adjustments within the public sector.

Addressing the European Parliament debates that occurred yesterday and Ursula von Der Leyen’s announcement about withholding €20 billion in EU funding until Hungary addresses LGBTQ+ and migration, the minister pointed out that by now "everyone has a clear picture of the situation. On one hand, the EC acknowledged Hungary's actions, and on the other hand, it linked further payments to our stance on LGBTQ+ and migration issues."

While highlighting the successful negotiation for ongoing EU funding based on the previous year's agreements, on the topic of migration, Minister Gulyás firmly stated that "Hungary does not wish to accept migrants, and a referendum was already held on this matter," meaning Hungary’s stance reflects the public's will.

Regarding LGBTQ+ issues, Minister Gulyás emphasized that like the issue of migration, "Hungarian voters also stood against LGBTQ+ propaganda in the child protection referendum," adding that any pressure by Brussels is useless since “Hungarian voters have already made a decision about these topics.”

Moving on to social policy and wages, the minister shared details of the substantial salary increase for teachers, stating that "teacher salaries will rise by 32.2 percent from February." He further emphasized the long-term goal of aligning teachers' salaries with 80 percent of the average graduate’s salary by 2030.

This plan, part of a broader financial commitment of HUF 6 trillion, with HUF 700 billion contributed by the EU, demonstrates the government's considerable investment in education.

Salary increases were also announced for the healthcare sector and other public sector employees. Specifically, nurses will see a 20 percent increase in their salaries starting in March, aligning their compensation more closely with doctors' salaries.

The session also underscored the importance of public engagement in governance and the importance of national sovereignty. Spokeswoman Szentkirályi gratefully acknowledged the significant turnout for the national consultation on sovereignty, saying, "We thank the 1,518,455 individuals who took part in the national consultation."

The spokesperson noted that the Hungarian people were able to express their opinions, unlike other EU citizens, because Brussels did not consult EU citizens on these very important issues that deeply affect them. Szentkirályi said that as a result of the consultation, “we will work to make the voice of the Hungarian people heard in Brussels.”