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PM Orbán: New Plan to Boost Growth Expected by Mid-September

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.08.21.

The government expects to be ready with a new two-year plan to boost economic growth by mid-September, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told public broadcaster Kossuth Radio on Friday.

In his regular weekly interview, the prime minister said he discussed economic policy measures with the relevant ministers and experts and asked them to combine their individual proposals drafted over the past several weeks to form a “logical growth plan containing dozens of measures” by mid-September.

He said he expected the two-year plan which the government will implement starting with the fourth quarter of 2020 to pass “all the necessary political and government forums” by the middle of next month. Orbán said his government’s economic policy up until now had been focused on saving jobs. The Prime Minister said:

This is not something we’ll shelve, we won’t give up on this goal.

He noted that the government had imposed a moratorium on loan repayments which had allowed hundreds of thousands of families to focus on stabilising their finances. Businesses have also been able to retain their employees as they “broke free from the grip of banks”, Orbán said. The government also introduced job protection schemes and launched development plans aimed at job creation, he added.

The government has succeeded in saving jobs, Orbán said, arguing that employment was up compared with January. He added, however, that there was more work to be done, as employment figures were still down compared to June 2019.

He said the government had also done a good job in preparing its economic growth plan as a part of the funds earmarked for the coronavirus response measures had been used to finance future investments. Hungarian investors will launch the projects they invested in with the help of the government’s 100 billion forint (EUR 286.3m) investment support scheme as early as next year, the prime minister added.

On another subject, Orbán said political thinking in Hungary over the past 100-150 years had been “public law-oriented” but

we had 850 years when it wasn’t like this and we could focus on deeper political questions instead of minor details related to public law.

These, Orbán said, included questions like Hungary’s location, its size, its population compared to its neighbours, the size of the area in which the Hungarian population can live and defend, identifying who is a threat, determining whether Hungary’s neighbours should be considered threats or if Hungary could get along with them, who the closest major powers are “and whether or not they want to step on our throats, whether we can avoid conflicts or have to engage with them in the way we had to with the Turks”. He added:

Hungarian politics had a geopolitical dimension back then which has faded and I would like this way of thinking to make a comeback.

Orbán said central European nations now had a chance to build themselves up. Central European nations should not be thinking about how to find “protectors that are much bigger than them as they have in the past 100-150 years”, he said. The Prime Minister added:

We now have an opportunity to join forces, to try to work together, try to organise ourselves and to somehow combine that fantastic life opportunity that makes up central Europe in knowledge, spirit, energy and economic potential while preserving our sovereignty.

Orbán said that “this requires a command ship and that ship is Poland,” adding that Poland with its population of around 40 million was a fast-growing country with a considerable military, “huge economic potential” and diverse interests in the region.

“If we get our own ships in the right formation and organise our forces around those of Poland and can reach an agreement with them, central Europe will be much better suited to protecting our interests, we’ll be richer and we’ll grow faster than if we looked for protectors from the outside,” he said.

featured photo: Noémi Bruzák/MTI

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