Central bank governor György Matolcsy’s plan to staunch the flow of Hungarians leaving the country to work abroad is not a solution to the emigration crisis, a senior opposition Socialist Party official said. Dávid Bihal told a press conference that the Socialists offered “European solutions to the crisis”. He insisted that Matolcsy’s plan to entice 100,000 Hungarians home was an admission of the government’s failure in family and youth policy.
Hungary’s Central Statistical Office estimates that 260,000-350,000 Hungarians live abroad while the UN reckons it is closer to 600,000.
Bihal said one key reason for emigration was that most young Hungarians think that it is impossible to get ahead in Hungary through hard work, the accumulation of knowledge and dedication alone. He insisted that the best way forward was to be “unscrupulous” and “serve the [ruling] Fidesz party”. He accused the government of destroying the country’s education system and “tossing Hungarian workers to multinationals”. Matolcsy’s scheme won’t work, he said, because it emphasises wage rises in areas where there’s a jobs shortage “while prescribing a nine-hour working day for civil servants, ridding them of their fringe benefits and reducing basic holiday days from 25 to 20″. Whereas Matolcsy wants to launch awareness-raising campaigns for the state education and health systems, the government “has done nothing for years to solve health and education problems,” he said.