Budapest, February 16 (MTI) – Hungary’s economy has produced the best results in more than ten years, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said today.
Giving a state-of-the-nation address in Budapest’s Millenaris Teatrum, Orban said that public utility fees had been cut for the first time in forty years. Employment and the minimum wage have increased and the rate of inflation has dropped to a level unprecedented for decades. The economy is growing and the government has defended and even increased the value of pensions. The budget deficit has been kept under 3 percent of GDP for years, he added.
Orban said the victory of Fidesz in the 2010 election brought about the second change in regime in twenty years.
For twenty years, the post-communist system was unable to prove its advantages over the old system and people “got fed up with it” so a second change in regime was required, he said.
“Hungarians had to be organised into a new national and political community through the adoption of a new constitution. Hungary’s sovereignty had to be restored, order re-established and an agreement struck with the public to guarantee a new and fairer system for the distribution of burdens,”
The primary goal of the government was to strengthen the community because the pledge to a successful Hungary was a strong state and a capable government, he said.
Hungary has arrived at the threshold of a great era of prosperity, Orban said, encouraging voters “to cross that threshold together”.
Hungarians should insist on “straightforward talk”, without slipping back to the “world of circumlocution” when “a blatant lie” was interpreted as a failure to “unfurl all details of truth”, Orban said, referring to ex-premier Ferenc Gyurcsany’s “lies speech”.
Orban said that Hungarians are slowly regaining confidence.
“We have become fed up with the politics that always focussed on how to please the West, the bankers and the foreign press,”
“I am still astonished at seeing how they take their courage to tell us what to think, how to remember, what goals to set and what to do and what not,” he said.
Orban emphasised that there is still room for reducing labour taxes, cutting energy prices to the lowest level, giving a job to all who want to work, enabling all young people to attend good schools that give them a chance in life, and enabling young people to raise as many children as they want, the prime minister said in his 16th annual address.
Main opposition Socialist leader and prime ministerial candidate of the Unity alliance of left-wing parties Attila Mesterhazy described Orban’s state-of-the-nation address as “a mendacious and cowardly speech” which had nothing to do with reality and people’s current problems. The prime minister either has no idea about the condition of the country that he governs or he does not dare face reality. Mesterhazy said over the past four years living standards dropped for eight out of every ten Hungarians and four million people live below the poverty line, with 500,000 children suffering from hunger each day.
Radical nationalist Jobbik said that contrary to what Orban said, the second Fidesz government has been characterised by half a million Hungarians leaving the country, no solution for FX loan holders, failure to improve order and safety, and lack of accountability. Hungary stands at first place in Europe only in terms of the high VAT rate, spokeswoman Dora Duro said.
Small opposition LMP said Orban’s speech demonstrated that he was living in a “parallel reality.” Party group leader Andras Schiffer said Orban failed to give an account of the scandal surrounding tobacconist licences, land lease scams and the “legalisation of corruption”.
The co-ruling Christian Democrats said they agreed with Orban in saying that the government had firmly protected Hungary from internal and external threats. It is every Hungarian’s success that respect of labour has been restored, utility fees have been cut and families are in much better position than they were four years ago.