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ORBÁN: JOB PROTECTION A PRIORITY

 

Commenting on the economy, he said the situation was hardest for employees and this was why more jobs had to be created, in order to replace those that had been lost. The job-seekers’ allowance is granted for three months and “we are only past the fortieth day, so it will last for a while longer”, he added. He expressed hope that “by the time we get to the end of it”, the job preservation measures introduced would return the economy to almost the same rate of growth as where it had been before the epidemic. He added that he expected a fast recovery.
Commenting on Thursday’s European Union summit, he said Hungary had not received any extra money from the EU for protective measures against the epidemic. An agreement was made at the meeting to make more money from the 2021-2027 EU budget available in the first and second years to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, he said, adding that the “rigid” conditions for spending this money will be streamlined and made more flexible. Orbán said the leaders agreed that a budget of a “much larger scale” than earlier is necessary, requiring bigger contributions by all member states. “Everybody will pay more money, Hungary too,” he said.
Orbán said the sides failed to reach an agreement on whether monies exceeding the budget allocation that must be mobilised to deal with the economic fallout from the pandemic should be credit, backed by the EU, or grants. Commenting on attacks against the Hungarian law on protective measures, he said he was not concerned by the criticism voiced from capitals of nation states, such as from Berlin. “It has the same importance as what we in Budapest think about Berlin … the difference being is that we are more polite and we do not always say what we think,” he added. He said Brussels was a different case: “Brussels has been taken over by bureaucrats and the room for reason is more limited”. Orbán noted that, as “the most important” piece of news during the week, the publication of a proposal by the US billionaire George Soros that the EU should issue perpetual bonds — securities with no maturity date on which only interest, not principal, is paid — to finance a fund to fight the pandemic. Orbán warned that the proposal, which he dubbed the “Soros Plan 2.0”, is “at least as dangerous” to the EU as an earlier proposal by Soros to resettle migrants in Europe.