The government’s polices are informed by the National Consultation public surveys and “points of agreement” found with the public, Antal Rogán, the cabinet chief, said on Tuesday.
In his annual hearing in front of parliament’s judiciary committee, Rogán said the most important points of agreement, which appeared in several surveys, concerned the job-based economy, family protection, border protection and national sovereignty.
The last survey regarding coronavirus measures was conducted in the summer and gave Hungarians an opportunity to give responses to questions about the handling of the first wave. The government thus shaped its response to the second wave in agreement with the Hungarian people, Rogán said.
Accordingly, the shopping timeframe dedicated to elderly customers was reintroduced on Monday, he noted. That step was supported by 62 percent of respondents in the survey, he said.
The survey also indicated that Hungarians want the country to remain functional for as long as possible, and supported measures such as wearing face masks, closing the borders and other protective measures, Rogán said.
Addressing the subject of government communications, Rogán said the lion’s share of communication spending in 2020 was on providing information about the government’s coronavirus measures. Meanwhile, a campaign to get consumers to buy Hungarian-made products was funded in support of domestic economy, he added. Campaigning targeting foreign tourists was suspended during the epidemic, while Hungarians were encouraged to spend their holidays at home, to help preserve jobs, Rogán said.
Committee members of the oppositions Socialist, Jobbik, Democratic Coalition and LMP parties slammed the government for spending “too much” on communications, saying the 11 billion forints (EUR 30.5m) spent on this year’s consultation “could have been used to preserve jobs”.
In response, Rogán said the opposition had never “agreed with the National Consultation”. “Left-wing governments usually listened to the IMF, while this one listens to the people,” he said.
While the opposition “now calls prolonging the special legal order a banal question,” they failed to vote for it in parliament, he added.
In response to opposition comments on the high cost of the National Consultation survey, Rogán insisted the opposition claims were “false” as costs included spending aimed at supporting domestic tourism and economy.
Handling an epidemic involves active communication, Rogán said. Most of the government’s spending was channelled towards that goal, he added.
Rogán said that “several left-wing media outlets, the daily Népszava and TV channels RTV Klub and ATV, would have been hard-put to close a successful year without government communication funds.”
Featured photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI