The Hungarian government will continue to reduce unemployment and increase wages because “there is no other way to eliminate poverty”, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at a start-of-the-year press conference on Thursday.
Orbán called it a “fantastic achievement” that the number of jobholders had exceeded 4.5 million “for the first time in thirty years”. Wages have been growing for 82 consecutive months, and their growth rate has been the fastest for low earners, he added.
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Orbán called it a “fantastic achievement” that the number of jobholders had exceeded 4.5 million “for the first time in thirty years”, up 800,000 compared with 2010. Wages have been growing for 82 consecutive months, and their growth rate has been the fastest for low earners, he added. Orban said the finance minister has been tasked with getting Hungary to catch up with the Czech Republic’s employment rate.
Orbán said his goal was for his government be the one to eliminate poverty in Hungary. Citing EU data, he said the number of people living in poverty has decreased by 1.3 million people in the recent period.
He said the government will expand its development scheme geared towards the poorest villages to include further municipalities.
The prime minister noted that investments in Hungary had hit a record high in 2019, with Asian investments accounting for 38 percent of the new jobs created.
He said 2020 would be an “exciting” year for the Hungarian economy. The Hungarian economic model differs significantly from the countries of the euro zone in terms of several key elements such as taxation, investment promotion, measures aimed at improving competitiveness and the approach to social policies, Orbán said.
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The Hungarian model has so far been successful, but the euro zone countries have also achieved growth, he said, adding that this was about to change. Euro-zone growth is expected to remain stagnant in 2020, he said, adding that it was questionable whether the Hungarian model would still “work” amid such circumstances.
Citing Finance Minister Mihály Varga, Orbán said it was impossible for Hungary to maintain a long-term growth rate that is at least 2 percentage points above the EU average without the implementation of a separate action plan to protect the economy. He said he will reveal the details of the next plan at his state-of-the-nation address next month.
Asked about Hungary’s euro-zone aspirations, Orbán said the country was not ready to adopt the single currency, but the government is continually examining the matter.
Featured photo illustration by Attila Balázs/MTI