Kicking off the official election period in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the government had remained united and composed during the pandemic, and not for a single moment had the country’s capacities been endangered. In other words, the new constitutional order enacted in 2011, PM Orbán added, had withstood the test. He told supporters that “we have one thing in common: we share a passion for Hungary.” PM Orbán accused the left wing of adopting “a new political strategy” which involved “insulting people, making fun of people with disabilities, marching into the countryside and threatening pensioners and looking down on women”. “People can’t believe their ears,” he said. “De Gaulle may have been right: everyone can talk, but the leader also knows when to listen,” the prime minister said. PM Orbán said the “greatest achievement” was that the Hungarian economy had withstood the crisis. He noted tax relief for workers below the age of 25, tax refunds for families and the restoration of the 13-month pension. “We are giving back what the Gyurcsány-Bajnai government took away.”
The prime minister also noted the 20 percent increase in the minimum wage this year and a 4 percent cut in taxes on labour. PM Orbán referred to a “great national agreement” that brought the unions, employers, government and parliament under one roof. “Except, of course, the left, which didn’t vote for anything.” Meanwhile, the prime minister announced the extension of the cap on fuel prices at the pump by three months. PM Orbán said that despite the pandemic, not since the regime change in 1990 had so many people had a job in Hungary, and a million more people worked now than during the Gyurcsány government.
The prime minister said Hungary’s exports had grown by a record 119 billion euros last year. In 2010, he noted, the government set out to draw key sectors under Hungarian control, reducing foreign ownership of banks, the media and energy companies to below 50 percent. PM Orbán said that in spite of the crisis, Hungarian investment capital abroad had been “turbo-charged”. He noted the government decision to ensure that whatever profits are repatriated by foreign companies operating in Hungary should be matched by the repatriation of profits by Hungarian companies operating abroad. “Only this way can Hungarian economy be kept in balance,” he said, noting new foreign investments by oil and gas company MOL and OTP Bank among others.
Meanwhile, the prime minister referred to the continuation of support schemes for Hungarian communities abroad, noting that the government has built 170 kindergartens in neighboring countries and renovated 790. PM Orbán told supporters that during the crisis, too, Hungary had eschewed “the recipes of Brussels” in favour of its “own path”. Referring to central bank governor György Matolcsy and finance minister Mihály Varga, he said Hungary had adopted “the Matolcsy-Varga cure” for relaunching the economy. Rather than stepping on the brakes, economic policy „overtook in a corner”, he said. PM Orbán said that notwithstanding the risks, the country’s economic growth had reached 7 percent amid the pandemic in 2021.
Photo credit: MTI