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Soldiers and other employees of the military will receive a 7.4% pay rise in January, as opposed to an originally planned 5%, Szilárd Németh, state secretary at the defence ministry, told a press conference. He said that the hike was the last part of a programme launched in 2015 to increase soldiers’ wages by 50%. The 7.4% rise will increase wages in the defence sector by 39,000-74,000 forints (EUR 121-223).

Németh said that the military is the “highest guarantee” of the country’s security and sovereignty, while it is instrumental in tackling “new challenges such as terrorism, migration and cyberwarfare”.

Answering a question about planned anti-government demonstrations, Németh said the opposition “only seeks trouble” and pays no heed to the country’s interests. “They aim to topple the government and thwart the [European parliamentary] elections in May, which would decide if we allow migrants to enter or not,” he said. He insisted that “the Hungarian people do not want [billionaire George] Soros, they do not want the Hungarian opposition”.

Meanwhile, police officers’ wages were raised by 5%. Károly Kontrát, state secretary at the interior ministry, told MTI that the salaries of police officers had increased by an average 50% since 2015. He added that a police detective in a senior position now earns 471,000 forints before tax, while a lower ranking officer without higher education makes 342,000 forints a month. “The government will continue to provide all assistance to the police to maintain Hungary’s security,” Kontrát said.