Hungarian Prime Minister (PM) Viktor Orban announced increased government support for Hungarian citizens as the second wave of the pandemic unfolds. Orban has acknowledged that the coronavirus “does not only affect people’s health; it has also launched an attack on our families and jobs.”
According to About Hungary, the PM presented four new measures to combat the negative economic effects of the pandemic. Among them is a “moratorium on loan repayment for families and businesses that will extend until July 1, 2021.”
Another measure of the Orban Government allows that “families with (or expecting) children can now apply for a preferential loan for housing renovations of up to 6 million HUF, of which up to 3 million will be automatically deducted once renovations are completed.”
On the other hand, the Hungarian government plans to assist smaller localities that may be most affected. After talks with representatives of smaller settlements, “cities and towns with a population of less than 25,000 will receive additional support from the government.” A tax reduction for small and medium-sized enterprises will also be implemented from January 1st of next year.
The Orban government will also reimburse two-thirds of salary payments of companies in the restaurant, tourism and hotel sectors that had to close temporarily due to protective measures. This will also apply to private transport companies.
“For us, every life and every job is important,” the Hungarian Prime Minister stressed in a video posted on his Facebook page.
According to the About Hungary page, the number of people confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus in Hungary now stands at 305,130 of whom 32,486 are in mandatory home quarantine: 102,962 have already recovered and 8,282 have died.
“The second wave of the coronavirus is breaking records throughout Europe,” said Prime Minister Orban. He added that Hungarian doctors, hospitals and nurses are standing firm against the virus attack. “The government,” he continued, “is providing all the necessary equipment for a successful defense.”
Orban’s struggle for sovereignty continues despite the pandemic
Orban has maintained a strong and cautious stance against the European Commission, along with other countries with national-conservative governments such as Poland. Comparing the European Union to the Soviet Union, the Hungarian leader said, “In the past, the Central Committee in Moscow used to decide what the ideological line was. Anyone who did not follow it was pressured.”
Recalling the era of Hungary under Soviet rule, Orban asserted his desire for Hungarians to gain more self-respect and called for them to understand the asymmetrical competition they experienced because of the misery the Soviet Union imposed on the country. “The Communists destroyed everything here and plundered the country, and in the 1950s they took from the people everything with which we could have built a future.”
Faced with criticism that his Euroscepticism is false because he receives funds from the European Union, the Hungarian leader denied the accusations. “We don’t receive money from the European Union: we recover part of the money taken out of Hungary by Westerners,” he said.
«I really want the Hungarian people not to see EU funds as something we receive from people who are richer and stronger than we are, but to think of us as having joined more fortunate countries after forty years of Communism».
Orban went on to say that Hungary allows these other countries to bring their goods into the country without tariffs, allowing them to invest and compete with Hungarian products. He reaffirmed skepticism in the policy of trade without borders and ended by insisting that he expects them “to give us back a fair share of the resulting gains in trade, because it is ours and we have worked for it.”