Like citizens of Mediterranean countries, many Hungarians have complained of financial difficulties during the epidemic, a survey commissioned by the European Parliament finds.
43% of Hungarians reported that their incomes decreased since the outbreak of the disease, 35% have either partially or completely lost their jobs. The European job loss average was between 28 and 21%, respectively.
In the EU, the majority of Hungarians and Spanish – 43% in both countries – spoke of declining incomes, and a similarly high proportion – 41% – claimed the same in Greece and Bulgaria. At the other end of the list are Luxembourgers, of whom only 14% said they had less money, and 16% by the Finnish and Danish.
Loss of income in 21 Member States overall in 2020.
22% of Hungarians report loan repayment issues, while only 14% of Europeans complained about the same situation.
In Hungary, every fifth person has also reported problems affording daily food, while only 8% of the EU respondents have similar difficulties.
However, despite the serious financial difficulties, the majority of Hungarians – 53% – are more or less satisfied with the EU crisis management, while fewer Europeans – 49% – admitted the same. A total of 53% of EU respondents said they were not very or not at all pleased with solidarity between Member States, while only 44% of Hungarians think the same.
At the same time, more than two-thirds of Europeans (68%), believe that the EU should be given more power in crisis management, while only 57% of Hungarians agree.
The differences between countries are substantial: 79% in Greece, 74% in Cyprus, and 71% of Portuguese and Spanish expect financial support from the EU, while only 36% of the Dutch, 35% in Sweden, and 28% in Denmark say that their country needs financial support.
Asked about the policy fields where this enlarged EU budget should be spent, public health tops the priority list for European citizens. 55% of respondents feel spending on public health is most important, as first priority in 17 EU Member States. The majority of Hungarians – 53% – would also spend the EU budget on public health. Following this top priority, economic recovery, and new opportunities for businesses (45%), employment and social affairs (37%), as well as the fight against climate change (36%) follow suit.
The Mediterranean countries want the EU (the other Member States contributing to the budget) to provide grants. However, the so-called austerity states committed to budgetary discipline – Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden – oppose this. Hungary and the Czech Republic on the other hand, do not consider it fair to support states with poorer per capita GDP even in times of crisis.
According to the survey, a significant development can also be seen in respondents’ feelings during the crisis, with citizens from 15 EU Member States choosing ‘hopeful’ (41%) to best describe their current emotional status.
Featured photo illustration Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI