Hungary’s vaccination campaign and our groundbreaking economic protection action plan have kept the economy on its feet even during the coronavirus pandemic. Recent GDP growth numbers already rank Hungary's economy among the top performers in the European Union. Our vaccination program was successful because we did not make a political issue out of it — we purchased vaccines from both East and West because the health of Hungarians and an early economic reopening came first.
We have led Europe in getting our people vaccinated ever since the vaccines against COVID-19 became available on the market. As of today, 52 percent of Hungarians have been fully inoculated, compared to the EU average of 36 percent. We have defeated the third wave of the virus, and Hungary became the first country in the EU to lift mandatory mask-wearing. What is this if not a success story?
Not only have the Hungarian people been protected in the face of difficulty, but the Hungarian economy has been as well. Following the protection measures, including tax cuts, the extended moratorium on loan repayments, grants to boost investments and the job protection scheme, which all aimed to fend off the hardship caused by the pandemic, we can now shift our focus to rebooting the economy.
Even though some of our most decisive economic measures are yet to take effect, the latest reports from global economic institutions confirm that Hungary is on the right track. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) — which already welcomed the “large and timely” Hungarian pandemic response in its previous report — recently raised its economic growth forecast to 6.2 percent, while, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), expects Hungary’s economy to grow by 5.5 percent in 2021.
If these promising projections come to pass, and the economy outperforms the 5.5 percent growth estimate, Hungarian families with children will get back the entire amount of the personal income tax they paid in 2021, up to the level of the average wage. This means a maximum of HUF 1.6 million of extra income per family. We believe that our children are the future; therefore, families with children must be among the first to benefit from the economy’s stellar performance.
Other statistics point to the fact that Hungary is actually outperforming Europe in terms of a handful of key economic indicators. According to the latest data out of the Central Statistical Office (KSH), Hungarian wages grew by an annual 10.1 percent in April, and the country’s jobless rate stood at only 3.9 percent in May. In comparison, the EU’s average unemployment rate remained well above 7 percent in May 2021.
Nevertheless, we’ve set our priorities straight: We must keep the economy on a strong footing through, as PM Orbán said, “forceful and occasionally surprising measures” and make Hungarian families the winners of this new economic era.