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Economy Minister: Jobbik’s “Political Bluff” On European Wage Union Would Lead To Tax Hikes

Tamás Székely 2017.08.23.

Hungarian Economy Minister Mihály Varga in an interview to the daily Magyar Idők savaged the radical nationalist Jobbik party’s campaign for a wage union across the European Union, saying that any attempt to bring Hungarian wages into line with the European average would inevitably mean hiking taxes substantially.

In the interview published on Wednesday, Mihály Varga (pictured above) slammed Jobbik leader Gábor Vona’s push for “equal pay for equal work” across the EU as a “political bluff”. Similar attempts by the Socialist-liberal government pushed the country to the brink of insolvency and led to austerity, he said.

Noting the Hungarian government’s own efforts to push up wages, the Economy Minister said: “The past two to three years have shown precisely that there is no point in waiting for Brussels to act on such matters when we ourselves can take deliberate action using our own forces”, he said.  The era of cheap labour has come to an end in Hungary, Varga insisted.

The alignment of wages is one of the most important issues, Mihály Varga said. Wages have been growing “in leaps and bounds” recently, he said, adding that pensioners also stood to take their share of the advantages of a well performing economy. A 3 percent pension hike is scheduled for January 2018, Varga said. Pensioners “may be entitled” to further benefits pending economic growth and inflation, he said.

Earlier last week, Jobbik chief Gábor Vona called for non-partisan support for his party’s initiative to collect signatures for a “wage union” within the EU. He called it “outrageous” that the party’s political opponents “are politicising the issue of a wage union”. He called on all citizens, “no matter which party they vote for”, to support the bid, insisting he would have done so had another party come up with the idea.

Jobbik launched its campaign for “equal wages for equal work” throughout the European Union in March. The party must collect 1 million signatures for the motion to be considered by the EU.

via MTI; photo: Noémi Bruzák – MTI