Gergely Gulyas – Photo: MTI

Gulyas: Pension rise to include 13th month pension

The 15 percent pension increase being introduced in January will also apply to the 13th month pension, the prime minister's chief of staff told commercial news channel HirTV on Tuesday.

Hungary’s economy is stable and its growth rate is among the highest in the European Union each year, Gergely Gulyas said. “We’re coming to the end of an election year and the government has reduced the budget deficit,” he added.

Gulyas noted, at the same time, that the whole of Europe and “in some ways, the entire world” was “suffering from high inflation”.

“When we say that pensioners mustn’t be the ones to lose out on inflation, this means that a significant pension rise is needed,” Gulyas said.

The state has a duty to shield pensioners from price increases as best it can, he said, adding that though the pension increase would be a significant expenditure in next year’s budget, the state could afford it.

As regards the agreement on European Union funding for Hungary, Gulyas said it was “clearly advantageous” for the government “when compared with expectations”. The biggest hurdle, he said, was that the nation was not united in enforcing its interests, arguing that “those who should be behind us at least on these issues end up stabbing us in the back and try to smear the country”. Gulyas criticised the Hungarian opposition for not identifying national issues that were shared interests.

He said it was acceptable to ask for guarantees and set expectations regarding the funding being provided to Hungary, “but aiming for Hungary to be deprived of the funding it is entitled to is a kind of politics that can’t be aligned with the national interest”.

Concerning the wage increases for teachers planned by the government, Gulyas said it would result in their wages almost doubling between January 1 next year and January 1, 2025. “As things stand today, it can also be hoped that we may not have to wait until March or the summer of next year with the actual payment, because the funds could open up as early as January 1,” he said.

Evaluating 2022, Gulyas said it was “a difficult, but nice year”. He noted that in the general election eight months ago the conservative civic right had received unprecedented support from voters. “After 12 years in government this is the greatest recognition ever received which also spurs us to carry on with the work,” Gulyas said.

Concerning negotiations with the European Commission, Gulyas said “the outcome of those talks running for half a year was indeed uncertain”. “I don’t think that we have settled all of our disagreements, but we have certainly taken a big step forward,” he said.

The year 2022 has been dominated by Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Gulyas said, adding that Hungary “again faces the situation of a war next door a quarter of a century after the end of the Yugoslav Wars”. The war happening in a country where a large number of ethnic Hungarians live “has already given and will continue to give us a lot of tasks”, he said.

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