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Comparing Hungary’s approach to economic recovery with that of other countries, the government had put greater emphasis on improving investment rules and directing more money into investments, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a radio interview on Friday. This will produce “fantastic results” next year, when an “investment boom” is anticipated, he said. “We’ll emerge from the epidemic in better shape than we went into it.” He added that one aspect of uncertainty that tempered expectations, however, was that a possible second wave may waylay the economy.
Orbán also noted that the government will provide over 5 billion forints (EUR 14.5m) to support the music industry, including 800 million forints to help Roma musicians. As regards jobs, he said that though the labour market had taken a hit because of the epidemic, jobs were coming back and within a few weeks “the government will have fulfilled its promise of creating as many jobs as had been destroyed by the virus.” Meanwhile, he said Hungary’s government had taken a “special approach” to its economic recovery. Orbán said he receives “a lot of help” from central bank governor György Matolcsy when it comes to formulating economic measures and coming up with “special Hungarian crisis management measures” that can help the country gain an advantage during the crisis.
Meanwhile, on the topic of the city of Veszprém, in western Hungary, becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2023, Orbán said the event would showcase “this fantastic country to the world”. He noted that a “safe pair of hands”, Tibor Navracsics, a former deputy prime minister and European commissioner, has been appointed as a government commissioner in charge of the event, and spending on the region will total 100 billion forints.
On the subject of the recent EU summit, the prime minister said Hungarians should not regard EU funding as handouts from countries that “are richer and stronger than us”. Orbán insisted that EU recovery funding must be tapped quickly and the government has already identified programmes to get the ball rolling, such as revamping the country’s water system and transforming environmental protection and energy systems to the tune of 1,000 billion forints. “In the last Brussels battle … we increased the amount channelled into the Hungarian economy by 3 billion euros; more than 1,000 billion forints,” he said.