(MTI) – Hungarian entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized companies (SME) are slated to receive 60 percent of European Union funding allocated to Hungary in the upcoming period, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Tuesday.
Speaking to a local television channel in Baja, south Hungary, Orban said SMEs employ the majority of Hungarians and if they could add one or two hires to their staff, unemployment would be eliminated altogether in the country.
Orban said his government, unlike those before 2010, aimed to build an economy in 21st-century Europe where everyone could find work. Hungary is close to achieving this with its jobless rate down to 8 percent, he said.
Investments and gross domestic product (GDP) are up, while more jobs are created and new factories are opened, both Hungarian and foreign ones. More people are living off the land, too, he added.
He said that under new administrative changes, county-level decisions would be made to promote local businesses with funds matching stimulus programmes. County assemblies will become centres for development, he added.
On the subject of the outflow of the workforce, Orban said it must be understood that we live in a new world, where there are no barbed wires. If somebody wants to learn languages and take jobs elsewhere, hopes to earn more abroad or has no job at home, they can try their luck.
“This is not something unique to Hungary, but it is not yet understood in Hungarian politics,” he said.
The challenge faced by Hungary is the brain drain by rich countries offering higher salaries, but the only way this can be helped is if Hungary catches up and offers more pay, too, he said.
Hungarians living abroad are estimated to send home remittances of about 600 billion forints (EUR 1.9bn) a year, which is an incredible resource for the Hungarian economy, he said.
He said that in an open economy in Europe workforce mobility serves Hungary’s interests. As an example he pointed to Poland where 3-4 years ago remigration occurred and young entrepreneurs returning home brought back foreign experiences and capital, boosting the economy. The prime minister said he hoped in a few years this would happen in Hungary, too.
Hungary’s development policy would focus on distributing EU money separately to large cities and counties, so that they would not draw funds away from small localities, he said. As a result of priority developments, more will be spent on motorway and railway upgrades, he added.
Photo: MTI – Tibor Illyes