PM Orban: We re standing at the gate of great times

We chose a different type of crisis management than the West because, whereas they ve opted to preserve consumption levels, we ve tried to preserve jobs, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told public media in his first interview in 2021. Mr Orban also talked about the vaccine against Covid-19 and Hungary vaccination plan.

ECONOMY POLITICS JANUARY 3. 2021 08:36

We currently have enough vaccines to inoculate 35 thousand people, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban told Hungary s public Kossuth Radio on Sunday.

In a situation when there is not enough of the vaccine, vaccination will follow a simple technical guideline, he said. Those working in healthcare, including doctors, will be the first to be inoculated, because they are on the frontline. PM Orban noted that the technical implementation of the vaccination will adhere to this principle, so – for instance – if millions of doses were to arrive tomorrow, it would give us some space to determine the location of the inoculation points.

Hungary s premier also underlined that the obstacle to mass vaccination isn t a lack of technical capacity.

I am not satisfied with the pace as some manufacturers have made their products available sooner in other countries outside the EU, but we have also turned towards the east for medicines. The eastern relations are handled by the government and Brussels will not interfere with that. The Russian vaccine is good, but we do not have sufficient quantities. The Chinese vaccine is more promising and is likely to arrive sooner, in bigger quantities. Citizens will probably have a choice to decide if they want to be inoculated with the western, or the eastern vaccine.

We now have a mass vaccination plan and Hungarians should visit the places where they usually go to cast their votes, the prime minister said. However, as the vaccines are organised by the EU and the 27 member states have signed one contract as a group, the arriving doses will be distributed by Brussels, so we cannot talk about a mass vaccination program for Hungarians yet, he added.

Around 40-50 percent of the population should be inoculated by March in order to prevent a third wave, the prime minister said. This is something to be considered, but we must be careful about using the conditional mood. We will not yield to temptation: the question is whether we have a vaccine. If it arrives swiftly, we will inoculate many within a short amount of time. It is also important to get the little things done, PM Orban said.

Responding to a question regarding Hungary s economy protection, the premier underlined: every tax cut is putting tax collectors in a difficult position, but we must now focus on protecting jobs. Workplaces ary typically provided by various enterprises, so it s understandable that a decrease, for instance, in the business tax will hurt the local governments. However, in times of crisis everyone must contribute to ensure that we prevent even bigger losses.

Whereas the left usually thinks that the solution is tax hikes, the right wing believes that we must help our enterpreneurs and businesses in order to be able to preserve jobs.

This worked out well and Hungary takes third place in the EU in terms of unemployment statistics. It is equally important that we haven t had to give up on any of our grand plans: we can reinstate 13th-month pensions and we haven t been forced to reschedule our family support and home subsidy schemes, either. This is a serious achievement, the premier affirmed.

 
Viktor Orban said the economy protection measures the government is planning to introduce were difficult to discuss at this point, because they are in such stark contrast with our current plight that it s hard to believe what we can expect.
 
The ten years between 2010 and 2020 has been the most successful period of the past one hundred years, Mr Orban said.
 
This does not mean that everything is fine, but it does show that the economy has performed well during this decade and the next ten years can be even better. Hungary s economic system is to undergo such a dimensional shift that many have never seen and cannot imagine. In the meantime, we will sustain full employment and develop perceptibly faster than the western hemisphere of the continent; this is something we can predict with great certainty.
 
The plans have already been made and we could be facing a fantastic decade. We are at the gate of great times, Hungary s premier has declared.
 

He also emphasized that investors are coming from both the east and the west, because Hungary is a good place, adding however, that Hungarian businesses are even more important. The vast majority of small- and medium-sized businesses are Hungarian, he said, adding that the decrease in the business tax cut will go a long way to help them.

By the end of this decade we must reach a point where the profits brought home by Hungarian businesses investing abroad will equal the amounts taken out of the country by foreign companies. That s why Hungarian companies “foreign investments” must be assisted, Viktor Orban said. 

We have chosen a different type of crisis management than the West because, whereas they opted to preserve consumption levels, we tried to preserve jobs. Once the health crisis is over, we can begin to roll out and implement our plans regarding the economy.

In terms of easing the current restrictions, Hungary s premier stressed that if we relax the rules before the vaccine is here and the vaccine, for whatever reason, fails to arrive or we stick to a wrong schedule, we can trigger a third wave. We have managed to ward off the second wave and our job now is to prevent a potential third one, Mr Orban concluded.

ECONOMY POLITICS

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coronavirus, economy, family support, Hungary, unemployment, vaccines, viktor orban