The Prime Minister said, in the government’s view, the Russo-Ukrainian war is fundamentally determining the functioning of the European and the Hungarian economies, and if the war were to end, both the European and the Hungarian economies would start doing better.
He said they are unable to remedy the root cause of the problem; until peace is restored, we are left with a wartime economy and wartime economic circumstances. The Prime Minister said – as far as he can see – the Brussels bureaucrats do not want to revoke the sanctions, despite Hungary urging them to do so.
If the war ended, the environment in which the European economy is functioning would change within seconds. This would also be vastly beneficial for the warring parties, he stated, observing that the key to the solution lies not in the hands of Hungary, but in the hands of the “big boys.” He highlighted that peace was the correct political and moral stance.
He said in this situation the government must protect jobs. In this department, Hungary is not doing badly; in actual fact, there are 70,000 to 80,000 unfilled jobs in the country, and these are missing from the Hungarian economy. For the time being, the Hungarian economy is providing jobs primarily for the Hungarian people, and the government is able to maintain the situation that those who want to work are able to do so, he laid down.
Mr Orbán described the knocking down of inflation as a top priority; in his view, in this regard the cabinet has resorted to radical means. Price speculating multinational companies must be made with force to abandon unjustified price increases, he stated.
Some price increase does stem from the war and the sanctions, but the rate of price rises in shops was higher than was justified by the actual economic situation. This is nothing other than price speculation, and multinational companies were at the forefront of this practice, he pointed out.
According to Mr Orbán, no one in this country has any objection to the fair profits of traders, but “enough is enough.” He said they had already significantly cut inflation, but a truly remarkable result could be expected in August. By the end of August, it will be a general opinion among members of the public that the government will be able to cut inflation to a single digit by the end of the year.
He said the fight against inflation will be followed by the struggle for growth which must be connected to pay rises. If there is no growth, wages cannot be increased, he added, stressing that the government wants to protect families.
It is important for the Hungarian economy to return, within the shortest possible time, from the shock caused by the war to a course of economic growth, he said.
The Prime Minister said in the second quarter, economic growth had “brutally decreased”. He indicated at the same time that the government is working hard, and so it is to be expected that in the third and fourth quarters, the country will return to the right path also as regards economic growth, as it did as in the case of inflation.
He added that the third quarter was already perceivably better than the second. He also said regarding real wages and growth that he would like to reach “a positive zero” by the end of the year, meaning that the pay rises to be implemented in the second half of the year could offset all the bad things that happened in the first half of the year.
He said while the first quarter was difficult for everyone, the Hungarian economy stood its ground, unemployment data did not deteriorate.
He also pointed out that next year’s budget calculates with a 6 per cent rate of inflation, but inflation could even fall to 5 per cent next year.
Mr Orbán said events such as the World Athletics Championships convey the message to the world that Budapest is the capital of a nation that “must be seen.” Sports events are also very important economically and make a fair profit, but what is even more important is that they focus the world’s attention, he stressed.
Hungary hosted the World Aquatics Championships, the UEFA European Championship and the UEFA Europa League Final, the World Athletics Championships are about to start, we are additionally “a stone’s throw from hosting a Champions’ League final,” and these events have drawn the world’s attention to us, he recalled.
“The world may well feel that those who haven’t yet been here have been left out of something, and the World Athletics Championships is one of those events,” he said, thanking the organisers and the volunteers taking part in the implementation of the sports event for their work.
The Prime Minister also said he will attend more than a dozen official bilateral meetings on the occasion of the World Athletics Championships and the 20 August national holiday. He said in the next few days, Budapest will host the Turkish president, the Serbian president and the Emir of Qatar. Hungary’s “political friends” from the Central Asia region will also be here, including from Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, in addition to a large number of business people from all over the world, primarily from Western Europe and China, he added.
On the occasion of the Friday inauguration of Rheinmetall’s Zalaegerszeg factory, the Prime Minister also highlighted that without a defence industry of its own, Hungary is unable to create an army that is capable of defending the country. He stressed that soldiers were the essence of the Hungarian army, and it is very important that “we have warriors, rather than mere uniformed workers.” At the same time, he further pointed out that without production of its own, Hungary is unable to create a fully functional army equipped to defend the country.
“If you are able to manufacture arms, you’re strong, and for peace you need strength. We want to live in peace, we have always wanted to, the Hungarians are a peaceful people, but are fully aware that without soldiering and the ability to defend peace, there can never be peace,” he said.