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Regarding education, Varga said the government had drafted next year’s budget with increased spending in all areas of the sector. The sector itself will receive 3,400 billion forints (EUR 9.1bn), including 1,200 billion on teachers’ wages, 126 billion more than this year.
Gergely Gulyás noted that teachers’ wages would be raised to 80% of the average salary of degree holders once Hungary has access to EU funding. Until that is the case, the government guarantees raises apace of inflation this year and at least 10% annually afterwards, he said. The government also pledged to give larger raises to teachers working in the most disadvantaged regions, he added. He also called on leftist MEPs “earning 6 million in Brussels” not to hinder the wage hikes.
Answering a question, Varga said the government had sufficient reserves to continue financing the Erasmus and Horizont student programmes next year, should the payment of EU funds be further withheld by Brussels. “Hungary will meet all criteria set by Brussels and can justly expect the receipt of funds it is entitled to,” he said.
He said chances of paying a pension bonus this year were “slim”. If economic growth exceeds 3.5% next year, the payment can be resumed, he said. “We have been in an alliance with the pensioners since 2010 which is why we cannot allow pensions to lose their value in real terms.”