Prime minister Viktor Orbán – Photo: PMO

Opposition criticises PM’s radio interview

Hungary's opposition parties on Friday criticised Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's recent comments on jobs and the changes to household utility price caps and the small business tax, saying he had "admitted" that the government was "incapable of protecting families".

In a Facebook post reacting to Orbán’s interview to public broadcaster Kossuth Radio, Socialist Party co-leader Bertalan Toth said the prime minister had “irresponsibly dished out handouts” before the election in the interest of keeping his power “and lied that this was sustainable”.

“They lied about stability, utility prices, the price of Russian energy, the state of emergency and just about everything,” Toth insisted.

He said the minimum wage should be exempt from personal income tax, taxes on low incomes should be cut, while low pensions and the wages of public service workers, teachers and health-care workers should be increased.

Toth also criticised Orbán, who he said “has been living off taxpayer money for 32 years”, over his reasoning for the need to change the rules around the itemised tax for small businesses (kata).

Opposition Momentum said the prime minister’s radio interview was “a clear admission that the government can’t and doesn’t want to protect Hungarian families from the cost of living crisis”.

Momentum said Hungary’s economic stability could only be guaranteed by an agreement with the European Union and a commitment to carrying out structural reforms so that the country could have access to the funds that could be spent on hospitals, schools and jobs.

LMP co-leader Mate Kanasz-Nagy urged an end to Hungary’s dependence on hydrocarbons. He called on the government to lift all bans and restrictions on the installation of renewable energy systems, introduce a building insulation scheme based on social considerations and scrap the upgrade of the Paks nuclear plant.

The leftist Democratic Coalition said Orbán had admitted that the government “won’t protect jobs”. Balazs Barkoczi, the party’s spokesman, told a press conference that “the prime minister knows what he’s talking about, given that he’s just taken away the livelihood of 450,000 taxpayers”.

“First they let Orbán’s inflation loose on the country, then imposed a brutal package of austerity measures with the windfall taxes, the decision to scrap the kata tax and by raising utility costs,” Barkoczi said.


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