At an international press briefing on Tuesday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán highlighted economic stimulus, protection against the pandemic and a national referendum on the new child protection law as the main issues for 2022. PM Orbán said planned economic policy measures include such “serious experiments” as giving a personal income tax exemption to people aged under 25. Protection against the pandemic must continue and will be focused on vaccination, he added.
The prime minister noted that the government had based its pandemic response and economic recovery measures on the findings of the National Consultation public surveys returned by more than 2 million people. Orbán noted that Hungary’s government had spent HUF 1,700 billion (EUR 4.6bn) on supporting the investments of 1,435 private sector players. As a result, 4.7 million people have jobs, while the unemployment rate is at 3.9 percent compared with the European Union average of 6.7 percent. The government’s efforts have also yielded an economic growth rate above 6 percent, he said, adding that the government put GDP growth between 4 and 5 percent for next year.
The prime minister said some 2.4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine were currently available and the government ordered an additional 2 million doses for children. Based on information released by the European Commission at last weekend’s EU summit, according to which a new vaccine would be required for the Omicron variant, the government has ordered 9.5 million doses of such a vaccine. The shipments are scheduled to arrive in the second half of next year and in 2023, he added. PM Orbán said the shipment will also include 1.5 million doses for children.
Commenting on a planned referendum on protecting children, he said there was a debate about who should control and supervise the education of children and what exclusive rights parents should have. “We reject the EU approach in this regard,” he said, adding that similarly to the question of immigration, Hungarians will be given a chance to express their opinion at a referendum which should be appreciated as a “democratic step”.
Photo credit: MTI