Opposition Párbeszéd has criticised the government’s 2022 draft budget, calling it an “election budget” that would benefit “the usual contractors” involved in investment projects rather than the Hungarian people.
“The government is carrying on with its habit of flooding the entire country with cement if it has just to guarantee contracts for its own construction companies,” Sándor Burány, Párbeszéd’s deputy group leader, told an online press conference.
Burány added that it was “pointless” to submit next year’s draft budget this early given the uncertainty around the pandemic.
He said it was also clear that the government would be incapable of meeting many of its targets, including its 3 percent inflation target.
The public debt level targeted by the budget “is essentially the same as where the government started from in 2010, even though they have since stolen 3,000 billion forints (EUR 8.3bn) from private pension funds to spend on reducing the debt”, he insisted.
Burány said loans given to Hungary by Russia and China for major investment projects like the upgrade of the Paks nuclear power plant and setting up the Budapest campus of China’s Fudan University would also add to the public debt while hurting the country’s political independence.
Bence Tordai, another deputy group leader, told the same press conference that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had left more than half of the 5,800 billion forints Hungary is entitled to in European Union pandemic recovery funds on the table. Hungary would be required to draw down 70 percent of that money in the first two years of the period in which the funds are available, which would mean an injection of 2,000 billion forints into the economy next year, he said. Yet the draft budget only calculates with 450 billion in EU recovery money, he said.
Tordai also criticised the budget for spending too little on Budapest.
He said that if the opposition were to win next year’s general election, they would draft a new budget.
In the featured photo: Párbeszéd MP Sándor Burány. Photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI