Protective measures have been successful so far in terms of slowing down the spread of the epidemic, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a message on Good Friday. “But the great challenge — the real test — is still ahead of us.”
On the topic of Hungary’s political opposition, Orbán said: “There’s not much else on their minds other than how to undermine the government.” This was the case during the epidemic too, he said.
Commenting on economic protection measures prompted by the epidemic, he said the left wing traditionally resorted to austerity during a crisis, taking money away from pensioners, public servants and families. The government, he said, took the opposite approach while putting jobs into the focus of its policymaking. The main goal of current crisis management is to create as many jobs as the number of jobs destroyed by the virus, he said. Hungary, he added, currently “stands on its own two feet” and was not dependent on anyone financially. He insisted that the government’s economic protection plan would work and jobs would be restored. “The economy will return to its growth path.” Orbán said caution was necessary when it came to involving banks and multinationals in the sharing of burdens. The right balance must be found, he said, adding that local councils and political parties must also participate in the sharing of burdens. Orbán said the financial foundations of the economic plan would be sufficient if everybody took part, and the economy would find its way back to a “straight path” within months. Whereas the most optimistic projection of 2-3% growth forecast by Hungary’s central bank was unlikely to materialise, the huge cliff-face projections of some economists could be avoided, he said. He cited London-based financial analysts who said that Hungary had a good chance of successfully combatting the crisis with a good plan well executed. Orbán rejected the approach of some countries to allow the budget deficit grow uncontrollably, saying that once the crisis was over, “they will find themselves being tossed about by creditors and speculators”. Orbán said he considered a 3 percent budget deficit a red line that must not be crossed.