Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Hungary had lost just 26,000 jobs to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. “There are few such countries in the world, not to mention that we will regain these jobs as well,” the prime minister said, adding that the economy would eventually add even more jobs. “I want to do more than just avert the crisis; I want 2021 to be an outstanding year for Hungarians,” Orbán said. “The first few months will be rocky, but the economy must hit the ground running afterwards.” He said Hungary should emerge from the crisis having overtaken countries that had earlier been ahead of it in terms of competitiveness and economic output.
Orbán said the government’s economic protection measures were focused mainly on supporting investments with a view to creating jobs, though emphasis was also being placed on wage subsidies. The prime minister said it was also important that the government had been able to carry on with its family support and home creation programmes and the reintroduction of the 13th month pension. “Hungary’s crisis management … has an excellent chance of being classified among the most successful ones at the end of 2021,” Orbán said. How successful those efforts will be, however, depended greatly on when the government will be able to lift restrictions, he added. “In other words, the vaccine will be a determining factor in how successful the economy will be this year,” he said. Orbán said that if Hungary relied solely on the Covid vaccines developed in the West, it would have to keep restrictions in place for several more months. However, if a safe and effective vaccine is found elsewhere, this process can be speeded up, the prime minister added. Commenting on the storming of the US Capitol by President Donald Trump’s supporters on Wednesday, Orbán expressed his sympathies to the families of those who were killed in the riot. “We don’t like it when others put labels on us, therefore we won’t label other countries, either,” the prime minister said. “We’re not going to interfere in what’s going on in America right now, that’s their own business. We’re rooting for them and hoping that they’ll succeed in solving their own problems.” He added, however, that the left wing had “resorted to the use of violence in Hungary as well”, saying that they had “besieged the Parliament building” together with opposition politicians and the building had to be protected by a police cordon.