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Coronavirus – Párbeszéd: Gov’t Underestimating Depth of Crisis

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.04.08.

The government’s stimulus package is insufficient to offset the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus epidemic, the opposition Párbeszéd party said on Wednesday, adding that the government was underestimating the depth of the coming crisis.

The government’s economic measures will mobilise only 2,000 billion forints (EUR 5.6 billion) mainly by reallocating existing funds within the budget, Párbeszéd deputy group leader Bence Tordai told an online news conference.

Tordai added, at the same time, that though the package mainly focused on economic players, it did contain positive measures such as state wage support.

He accused Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of “treating the crisis as an opportunity to radically alter ownership structures within the Hungarian economy”. Tordai also criticised the stimulus package for its “limited scope”, saying it would only help “certain chosen economic players”.

Tordai called for doubling unemployment benefits and tripling their duration. He also called for the introduction of a monthly 100,000 forint (EUR 279) universal basic income for the duration of the state of emergency, adding that his party wanted to raise child care benefits to 50,000 forints (EUR 140). Párbeszéd is also calling on the government to impose a solidarity tax on everyone with assets worth more than 500 million forints (EUR 1.4 million), he said.

The deputy group leader expressed support for the taxation of financial institutions and corporations, adding, however, that it should be expanded to apply to “oligarchs”. He also called on the government not to cut funding for local councils.

featured image via Tamás Kovács/MTI