Budapest (MTI) – Hungary made an economic breakthrough last year by growing without taking out any foreign loans, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said.
He said for the first time in decades the Hungarian people have “graduated” in a financial sense, and the state, businesses and residents all acted like responsible adults in making mature decisions and delivering on them.
“We are out of the woods and now hungry for some success,” he said at a start-of-year speech at Varkert Bazar on Friday afternoon.
The coming years will be about hard-working people and their needs to make a living, Orban said. This is why tax breaks for two-child families will rise, a home starter subsidy scheme will be launched and career models continued. The pay for family doctors will be hiked, new nurseries built and a new system of vocational training launched, he added. In addition there will be free school meals for children, he added.
Hundreds of thousands of working Hungarians will be helped while keeping economic growth and improving competitiveness, he said.
The service of one’s country comes before any individual ambitions, private or group interests, Orban said.
“We are a community of a people’s party rooted in Christian Democratic values” and governed by the ideals of a civic Hungary, he said. Liberal multiculturalism did not provide answers for today’s most burning challenges facing Europe, he insisted. One of the most important issues was whether it was possible to include people, many of whom are not ready to accept — or in some cases are outright set to destroy — European culture. Another one is whether the spirit of the Cold War can be stopped from returning and whether Hungary can prevent Russia from becoming its enemy again, he said.
“Is it possible for Hungarians to stand by Ukraine’s independence and security for ethnic Hungarians in Transcarpathia and at the same time protect our country’s energy security and economic interests,” he asked.
Hungary’s elected leaders must answer these questions from the position of being committed members of the EU and NATO, while keeping Hungary a safe place in an uncertain world, he said. He added that Hungary needs a pro-active foreign policy, which it had adopted in 2014, when its economy started doing better.
Hungarians must learn to feel their equal worth with foreigners. In response to critics’ charges about isolating Hungary he said “in February alone a president, three prime ministers and nine foreign ministers visited Hungary”.
He said there were certain things to be kept from Hungary’s “previous era” while others needed to be abandoned. Democracy should be retained, “preferably without a qualifier”, he said. However, the government abandoned neoliberal economic policy, the policy of austerity, the “delusions” of a multicultural society and liberal social policy, which failed to acknowledge the common good and rejected Christian culture. The prime minister added that political correctness must also be abandoned as Hungarians were “politically incorrect by nature” and were immune to “empty talk”.
“Hungarians want work and low utility bills,” he said.
Orban addressed his Fidesz party’s loss in the recent by-election in Veszprem, west Hungary. He said one advantage of the result was that it was proof the new election law was working. He added, however, that the fact that many Fidesz supporters had expressed dissatisfaction with the party meant there was need for more dialogue in the future.