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Viktor Orbán announces “largest economic development program” since 1989

In a speech delivered at a year-end event held by the pro-Fidesz Széll Kálmán Foundation on Friday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán vowed to defend the country’s political sovereignty and to expand its economic sovereignty.

The leader (who never misses an opportunity to sing his own praises, or those of his government) reportedly stated the following:

  • The constitutional and financial foundation of a national, sovereign politics was created between 2010 and 2014.
  • His government succeeded in “restarting” the Hungarian economy whose growth is one of the strongest in Europe.
  • Hungary has broken out of the financial austerity-stimulus cycle.

Orbán repeated his earlier assertion (which many experts believe to be factually incorrect) that whereas in 2010 there were only 1.8 million taxpayers in a nation of just under 10 million, today more than 4.2 million pay income taxes.  (Critics note that Hungary has the highest value added tax in Europe).

He claimed that 400,000 more Hungarians work today than four years ago, but did not think it necessary to break this number down into those working abroad and those engaged in public work, the productivity and social utility of which has been called into question.

The prime minister repeated his government’s assertion of earlier this week that poverty had miraculously decreased in Hungary despite an overwhelming body of evidence indicating otherwise.

He said creating workplaces was the most productive method to fight poverty.

Recycling language used by the National Bank of Hungary this week to justify the purchase of two buildings in need of extensive renovations for HUF 5.25 billion, Orbán claimed his government had decreased Hungary’s national debt even as it had increased “to an imposing degree” the national assets serving public goals.

The prime minister said his government’s goals for 2015 were the following:

  • Protect the results arising from the extension of our economic sovereignty (presumably he is referring to the nationalization of various energy companies and banks over the course of the past year or so).
  • Protect the decrease in household utility costs and the government’s energy policies, as well as the “Workplace protection action plan” which he claims “protects our economic competitiveness.”
  • Achieve  results in the field of the diversification of energy supply.

Orbán announced the launch at the beginning of 2015 of the “largest economic development program” since the system change with the goal of bringing about full employment, while at the same time strengthening the national economic actors.  (He did not explain why this was necessary if Hungary’s economy is doing so well).

On the subject of foreign trade, he said it was necessary to devote more attention to participating in the dynamically expanding markets of the east.

Széll Kálmán Foundation

The following information can be found at the foundation’s website.

The Széll Kálmán Foundation was established in December 2003 with the aim of providing its members with an invitation-only intellectual platform where they can share information on social, economic or even philosophical and very practical political issues on a regular basis. This is a circle of people who think in terms of nation, development and future perspectives, most of them being economics professionals. We want to give a genuine opportunity to creative people who share the conviction that the purpose of their work is to improve the quality of life, to make their children and grandchildren free, i.e. to enable them to live in dignity in full control of their lives.

The slogan Kálmán Széll chose for his term of office as prime minister and actually his whole life – “Law, justice and rights” – is the principal motto of our Foundation.

The success of a country depends on being well organised, on the predictable and effective operation of the institutional system designed to serve the freedom, prosperity and security of the people. The basic institutions promoting prosperity include the protection of property and the freedom of enterprise.

Politics is not merely about the forceful rejoicing of people for selfish or ideal gains, but – to quote Max Weber – is about the mediation of interests in which good causes are managed well.

The Foundation is not a public organisation and it does not wish to participate in public debate and discussion. The board of trustees of the Széll Kálmán Foundation comprises eight members; from January 2011, its president is Csaba Lantos, businessman.





Richard Field :