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Minister: Work-based economic policy guarantees stable future in Hungary

It is the economic policy focused on job creation that guarantees a stable future in Hungary, Peter Szijjarto, the minister of foreign affairs and trade, said in Zurich on Wednesday, adding that this was what had allowed Hungary to achieve record investments, employment and exports last year in spite of the ongoing crises.

The Hungarian economy will again see record investments this year, exports will be up around 8 percent and full employment remains a realistic phenomenon, Szijjarto said after a roundtable discussion with Swiss business executives, according to a ministry statement.

The minister said this was only possible because throughout the crises caused by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the Hungarian government had stuck to its policy centered on job creation and investment promotion.

He said that if the opposition had been in power in recent years, the Hungarian economy would have gone bankrupt twice, arguing that the opposition had twice called on the government to adopt a welfare-based economic policy. He said the government had concentrated on preventing unemployment, rather than financing it.

Investments in Hungary by Swiss companies in recent years had also proven that “this is the correct economic policy”, he said.

Szijjarto emphasised the role of Swiss investments in Hungary having emerged stronger from every crisis. The roughly 900 Swiss businesses present in Hungary employ 30,000 people, and the government has supported 36 Swiss investments over the last eight years, the minister said.

Bilateral trade turnover reached a record high last year, exceeding 2 billion euros for the first time, and has increased by 6 percent this year, Szijjarto said.

Meanwhile, he said Hungary, as a committed member of the European Union, was interested in a strong EU that enabled member states to preserve their national sovereignty and traditions instead of continuing to centralise powers.

He said there were major debates about the future of the EU, adding that if someone strayed from the mainstream liberal position, “they are immediately subjected to financial sanctions.”

Szijjarto said Hungary, too, was subjected to such “unjustified” sanctions because it went against the mainstream and held a sovereign stance on the most important issues.

He also said that those who talked about the need for urgent peace in Ukraine and the importance of keeping communication channels open were immediately depicted as “a Russian puppet, an ally of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and a Kremlin propagandist”.

“There’s no opportunity for democratic debate in the European Union, Brussels only pays lip service to democracy, but doesn’t function democratically, while at the same time it questions the will of the people,” Szijjarto said. He said this could also be seen in Brussels’s approach to the Hungarian government’s National Consultation public survey.

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