Press release – Published on Jobbik MEP Márton Gyöngyösi’s Facebook account:
When we launched the initiative for the European Wage Union, we made the point that we were not asking for pittance, not begging for donations and we don’t want to get rich on other people’s work.
What we asked for was to provide Hungarian people with the working conditions that enable them to honestly earn European wages. Hungarian workers are just as diligent as German or French ones. The difference is that they are not given the same opportunity. We asked for nothing but an opportunity.
Europe started a discussion on the wage issue. Held in the European Parliament in 2017, our professional conference was attended by acclaimed politicians, economists and experts to discuss what we could do about the problem. European leaders began to talk about such issues as the social pillar and the European labour authority. In the meantime, Fidesz and the left joined forces to launch an astounding smear campaign against the Wage Union in Hungary as well as abroad. Fidesz feared for its power: they are only safe as long as Hungarian workers toil for 12 hours a day and are kept in financial dependency.
The left was again preaching a miracle (old habits die hard) and stated that the Wage Union was infeasible but we shouldn’t worry because they will pull strings abroad to get a common European minimum wage adopted.
Do you know the old joke about the radio news that proved to be completely false in every aspect? Well, it was something like that here, too. First it turned out that the left never meant for Hungary to suddenly adopt Luxembourg’s €2000 minimum wage. Instead, they only meant that each country would eventually adopt “some kind of” minimum wage. Thank you very much for the big nothing. We’ve had the minimum wage for quite a while but people couldn’t make a living on it. Of course, Jobbik is not like the left. We said if it can come to something good, let them do it. And we noted that the European minimum wage is just the zeroth step. Let Europe deal with the wage issue but we need more.
It’s certainly embarrassing for some politicians that an ally of the left, i.e., Social Democrat Commissioner-designate for Jobs Nicolas Schmit flatly stated in his hearing that a common European minimum wage was out of the question and he had no such plans whatsoever.
According to Schmit, the economic differences are just too big for that. In other words: as long as even the HUF 360000 monthly “average wage”, which is half of Luxembourg’s minimum wage, remains nothing but a dream for 70% of Hungarian citizens, what do we want?
Isn’t Nicolas Schmit right? Unfortunately, he is. That’s why I keep working on the implementation of the Wage Union. However, Schmit also said: “I will work to promote a fairer Europe in a sustainable economy where social rights have a central place.” That’s exactly what I was talking about before: Europe is being torn apart by the economic and income gap. Today young Hungarian citizens face the choice of emigrating for a better life and leaving their families and homes behind, or staying in Hungary and becoming impoverished. In the meantime Western Europe experiences increasing tensions because the cheap eastern labour pushes wages down. Is Europe fair today? No. Is such a Europe sustainable? No. Do social rights have a place in Europe?
They are beginning to understand the importance of this issue, especially since the Wage Union Initiative, but there’s still room for improvement even though money is being poured into Hungary and the other eastern member states, too.
Theoretically speaking, the money is handed out to help us close the gap but ultimately it’s always the government’s pals who benefit from it while we are stuck with the useless projects like the 1-metre high lookout towers and the half-finished but duly inaugurated playgrounds. The Wage Union’s objective is to break down the system of oligarchs and use the EU’s cohesion funds to build a predictable future for the Hungarian people. To achieve this goal, we need to join the European Public Prosecutor’s Office and to establish proper institutions to help Hungary converge to western Europe.
Unlike Fidesz, we don’t envision a slave future for the Hungarian people. Unlike the left, we don’t entertain them with free miracles.
If you think the Wage Union is unrealistic, you should read a history book. Europe’s founding fathers built the western welfare states on the exact same principles that we promote. After they got the money from America, the diligence of the European citizens and the Christian, social idea generated an economic miracle over the ruins. Today there’s no American money but there’s EU money. And Hungarian workers have the diligence and the skills. Will there be a Christian and social idea? If it’s up to Jobbik, there will. That’s exactly what we offer. Let’s build a predictable, safe and fair Hungary in Europe.