Asked about the government’s planned measures, PM Orbán said yesterday that the government would give priority to maintaining financial stability. Keeping the country’s GDP growth over the EU average is another goal, he said, adding that the government would take further measures to improve demography figures.
Orbán said the government plans to extend the system of family support measures, but added that in Europe’s current economic situation timing is still an issue. Asked about Hungary’s next government, Orbán said the newly elected parliament should convene by May 3 and ask the prime minister to form a government. “It is not stated by law that the leader of the winning party should be asked to, but I have certain hopes of this kind,” he said.
Orbán said the new government cannot be formed before the end of May. He did not rule out that János Lázár, his former chief of staff and winner in Hódmezővásárhely, would return to the government and would be assigned with the task of increasing Hungarian ownership in retail chains to above 50 percent.
Asked if Péter Szijjártó remains foreign minister, Orbán said he would like to keep him in the government but it depends on the minister’s own decision.
Asked if the caps on fuel prices and interest rates would be maintained, Orbán said the government would make every possible effort to protect the people and families from price increases. The caps will remain in effect until the deadlines announced previously, and the government will seek to extend them, he said, adding that negotiations with fuel traders, banks, food producers and retailers are under way. Orbán said he saw a chance of maintaining price caps on utilities.
If the Paks nuclear power plant is upgraded and solar energy use increased as planned, the share of gas in Hungary’s energy mix can be reduced to 10 percent by 2030,
Orbán confirmed the government’s commitment to maintaining financial stability. He noted that the budget deficit and the government debt had been reduced even during the election campaign. The situation of Hungary’s economy will depend on the depth of the European crisis, he added.
In reply to a question, Orbán ruled out that the government would take austerity measures and raise taxes affecting the public. However, there might be a need for
special taxes to be imposed on multinational companies
and others, similar to the ones introduced in 2010, he said, adding that such measures would depend on the EU’s ability to halt energy price rises.
Asked about the EU’s recovery and resilience funds, Orbán said that Hungary has access to a variety of other funds on the money markets because its economy is in a good shape. “It is inconceivable for Hungary to remain without money,” he said. Asked about pay rises for teachers, Orbán said the government would fulfil its promise for 10 percent hikes this year and the next two. He admitted that teachers are right on saying that this is insufficient but added that further increases would depend on the country’s economic performance.
Orbán said in legal terms the April 3 referendum on child protection proved to be invalid but “never before had so many Hungarians adopted a uniform stance on an issue”.
“The outcome of the referendum unambiguously implies a political obligation,” he said. Asked about the recent attacks on the foreign ministry’s servers, Orbán said that all Hungarian ministries are exposed to permanent attacks from several directions. “We keep defending ourselves,” he said, adding that he saw nothing extraordinary in these developments.