Parbeszed urges broad consultations on government's post-pandemic recovery plan

Majority of Hungarians satisfied with crisis management, survey says

The majority of Hungarians disagree with left-wing politicians who say that Hungary should have waited for the European Union approval of Chinese and Russian coronavirus vaccines before introducing them, daily Magyar Nemzet said on Friday citing a new representative survey by Nezopont Institute.

The survey commissioned by the paper showed that support for vaccination has increased and three-quarters of adults said they supported it. Including people already vaccinated, some 6 million Hungarians plan to get vaccinated, it added.

Even among people critical of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, support for vaccination increased compared to last week but it remained under the national average of 66 percent. At the same time, 80 percent of Orbán’s supporters also support getting vaccinated, the paper said.

A total of 53 percent of those surveyed said that once the Hungarian authorities issued their approval for Chinese and Russian vaccines, it was good that Hungary started administering these jabs. Only 33 percent said that Hungary should have waited for an EU approval before using these vaccines. Even 35 percent of those critical of Orbán expressed support for the government’s position in the vaccination drive, the paper sad.

Some 13 percent of the people surveyed said that epidemic management would have been better if the left wing had been in government. Among potential left-wing supporters critical of Orbán, some 27 percent said that a left-wing government would have managed the coronavirus crisis better than the current government and only 5 percent of voters with unknown party preference said the same, the paper added.

Parbeszed urges broad consultations on government’s post-pandemic recovery plan

The opposition Parbeszed party has called on the government to consult with local councils, professional organisations and civil groups on its post-pandemic recovery plan.

Benedek Javor, the party’s European Union expert, told an online press conference on Friday that the government should have been holding consultations with social partners on its recovery and resilience plan since November. Its failure to do so, he added, went against EU rules on the bloc’s post-pandemic recovery fund.

Javor criticised the government’s plan for being “extremely weak from a professional standpoint”. Whereas the EU regulations mandate that member states spend at least 37 percent of their share of the funds on tackling climate change and around a quarter of it on digitalisation, Hungary’s recovery plan fails to meet these targets, he said.

Instead, he said, the government wanted to spend almost the entirety of the 5,800 billion forint (EUR 16.2bn) package on construction projects, when the EU’s country-specific recommendations for Hungary make it clear, for example, that the cabinet should extend the period during which the jobseekers’ allowance is paid.

Javor said the European Commission was unsatisfied with the anti-graft measures outlined in the package, saying it had not seen enough guarantees that the monies coming from the recovery fund “wouldn’t get lost through channels of corruption”.

He said the government was putting the package’s approval at risk, insisting that if the EC did not approve the plan, payouts to Hungary from the recovery fund could be delayed by several months.

Javor called on the government to allocate more funding within the plan towards renewable energy, the protection of ecosystems, investments in water management and projects aimed at addressing climate change.

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