The opposition LMP party has blamed the government for Hungarian living standards falling behind other countries in the region.
Erzsébet Schmuck, LMP’s deputy group leader, cited Eurostat figures at a press conference held on Tuesday, saying that Hungary’s consumption stood at 63 percent of the European Union average. While in 2005 Hungary came third in the region after the Czech Republic and Slovenia, in 2016 living standards were only worse in Bulgaria and Croatia, she said.
According to Schmuck, the Fidesz-government has “accelerated its ill-advised social and economic policies” with efforts to increase competitiveness based on cheap labor, and Hungary’s families have by now exhausted all their reserves. Most people are not poised to benefit from a stronger GDP, and the gap between the poor and the rich is growing, she argued.
Rather than featherbedding international companies the government should support domestic small and medium-size businesses, she said. Further, Schmuck called for a progressive personal income tax to be re-introduced and minimum wages made tax-exempt.