Budapest, January 9 (MTI) – The 2015 budget will be “for the people” and the government in the next three years will focus on improving the financial positions of wage-earning families, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.
The value of pensions will be kept level in 2015, he told public Kossuth radio.
The new toll road system is on a test run until the third week of January, Orban said, inviting critics to come forward in this period.
Under the scheme introduced on Jan. 1 a fee applies to the use of the M0 ring around Budapest and links to motorways near major cities. E-stickers for individual counties costing an annual 5,000 forints, or 16 euros, can now be purchased as an alternative to stickers for shorter periods and the all-country pass costing 42,980 forints a year.
Orban said at the end of the trial period the government would assess experiences and come to a “reasonable” conclusion. The system in its final form can launch in February, he added. He said the new pay-by-county system was good and enjoyed broad support, but it needed some adjustments.
Orban said he aimed to keep political and economic cooperation with Russia going despite the tense situation, adding that a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin would happen “sooner than later” this year.
Pending visits by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Putin were in “different phases”, he said. Merkel’s visit had a date and agenda set, while the visit by Putin was only planned without decisions made on the time and subjects to be discussed as yet. He added that Putin’s visit “appears to be happening sooner than later” in 2015.
Orban said the visit by Merkel had different connotations, and since he meets the chancellor every two months in Brussels, this appears “less unusual” for Hungarians. However, he asked the opposition not to treat Merkel as “someone taking requests” as this is offensive.
The opposition Socialists had called on Merkel to hear the voice of the opposition when she visits Hungary.
Orban said Hungary needs to keep itself “away from conflicts” and remain a good ally in the European Union and NATO while not letting itself “be dragged into a cold war-type situation” by the Russians or the Americans.
Hungary needs secure ties with both Germany and Russia, he insisted.
As for Hungary-US relations, Orban said “they have been better, but now they are what they are”. He said Hungary’s national sovereignty cannot be questioned.
In Hungary’s health care, the main task will be to raise wages for general practitioners in 2015, he said.
Orban said the new government’s work did not start without “glitches” but was otherwise normal. A “sharper” tone of voice is used in politics now, in response to the state of Hungary’s left, he said. “This is all about their struggle to give birth to a modern Left,” he said.