Olga Kalman

DK: 2023 ‘year of Orbán’s austerity’

The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) has slammed economic measures taken by the government over the past year, saying that 2023 had been "the year of [Prime Minister Viktor] Orbán's austerity measures".

Olga Kalman, the party’s spokeswoman, told a press conference on Wednesday that “the year’s biggest austerity measure, Orbán’s inflation” had resulted in the “largest price increases in Europe”. She said the “400 percent in extra profits the Orbán government made on the price of natural gas” had “caused a serious rise in utility prices for millions of hard-working Hungarians”.

Kalman criticised last December’s lifting of the fuel price cap as “a brutal austerity measure”, adding that the increase of the excise tax would raise the per-litre price of petrol and diesel by 41 forints.

She also slammed next year’s “drastic” rise in motorway vignette prices and the “weakening” of state public transport, pointing out that the government had shut down 17 railway lines earlier this year.

“Those who still have some savings left will be forced from July 1 to pay a 13 percent social contribution tax besides the 15 percent personal income tax,” Kalman said.

Meanwhile, she said the cabinet had lowered the age threshold for eligibility for prenatal baby support loans to below 30 and “scrapped” the CSOK home purchase subsidy scheme.

Kalman said that while annual inflation had reached 18 percent, pensioners had only received a 3 percent top-up in November.

She added that the government had cut spending on health care by more than 13 percent and on social services by 12 percent.

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