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Democratic Coalition (DK) leader Ferenc Gyurcsány has called on the government to use 5.6 billion euros of European Union funding granted to Hungary for handling novel coronavirus to compensate Hungarians who find themselves out of a job. At an online press conference, the leftist party leader said the EU acted fast “for a change”, and the money could be accessed within days to compensate for lost incomes. The government, however, has taken no steps to do so, he said.
Gyurcsány called on the government to pay 80% of the wages of those who lose their jobs or are sent on unpaid leave due to the epidemic. He also insisted that the government was late in reacting to the approaching epidemic. There are still not enough tests and protective gear available, Gyurcsány insisted.
Meanwhile, at a separate press conference, deputy group leader Gergely Arató said DK was submitting a proposal to parliament allowing taxpayers to offer 1% of their personal income taxes to novel coronavirus response. Taxpayers currently can channel 1% of their PIT to a foundation and another 1% to a registered church of their choosing. DK proposes that a further 1% could be offered to the epidemic response, which had put “a lot of people into a hopeless situation”, Arató said.
Arató said local authorities and civil organisations were fighting “with all their might” to protect the elderly, the homeless and families living in deep poverty at the time of the coronavirus epidemic. Referring to government measures, he said the epidemic response was not just a law enforcement or military issue. “Compassion, empathy and humanity is in greater demand than ever,” he said.
Fidesz MEP Tamás Deutsch said in reaction that the EU had not granted Hungary any emergency funding. “This whole thing about the EU funding is just like the Loch Ness Monster: many people talk about it but no one’s seen it,” Deutsch said in a Facebook post. “They haven’t seen it because it doesn’t exist. Neither the monster, nor the funding. Enough said.”