Viktor Orbán highlighted that due to the pension legislation, 435,000 persons would have received less than this amount. However, due to the performance of the economy, the government is able to pay a sum of HUF 80,000 to everyone on a standard basis.
As inflation is higher than was expected at the beginning of the year and up to the first of July only half of the compensation for inflation was paid to the elderly, due to the inflation falling on the second half of the year that is higher than expected, pensions will have to be adjusted, the Prime Minister added, highlighting that there will be “a fair number” of pensioners who will receive a one-time supplement of around a hundred thousand forints, including the pension premium of HUF 80,000.
He added that if the government’s policy seeking to promote economic growth remains successful also in the next three months, he believes that there is a chance that at the beginning of next year not only a two-weekly instalment of the 13th monthly pension, but an entire extra monthly pension could be paid sometime at the beginning of February. He indicated that this is not one hundred per cent sure at all, “we must work for it, we must fight for it, but it’s not impossible”.
Mr Orbán confirmed that the 5.5 per cent economic growth that the government set as a condition for the tax refunds of families raising children will be achieved beyond doubt. Therefore, he continued, in total 1,900,000 persons raising children will be repaid their taxes up to mid-February. The Prime Minister asked the tax authority to pay the refunds by 15 February, and he believes there is a chance that this could be accomplished.
Mr Orbán also said what the Left keep pushing for would lead to the end of low household utility charges in Hungary, and they would undo the reduction of household utility bills. He highlighted that the adjustment of household utility charges to world market prices would amount to undoing the reduction of household utility bills, “we would go back to where we were before 2010”.
He added that the problem with Hungarian politics in general is that the debate is not about the future, but about whether the past should return as well-known figures of the Gyurcsány-Bajnai Governments would like to return to the frontline of Hungarian politics. If they return, so will high prices, he stated.
He recalled that between 2002 and 2010 he kept on criticising the Gyurcsány-Bajnai Governments for increasing the prices of gas and electricity several-fold. During the left-wing governments, big international companies did well, families did less well, he pointed out.
He stressed that in 2010 they had to break with this, too; they had to fight major battles with international corporations and Brussels in the interest of freezing, fixing household utility charges. As a result, today in Hungary gas is the cheapest and electricity is the second cheapest for households in the whole of Europe. By contrast, he continued, today in Western Europe there are price rises “we can’t even imagine”.
Regarding the gas supply agreement concluded with the Russians, he highlighted that they agreed on a price for the next 15 years that is somewhat below the price fixed in the previous long-term agreement, despite the fact that prices are rising throughout the world. This, he said, is another feat for which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the negotiating delegation deserve praise. He added that the Russians, too, were fair, and they managed to conclude an agreement worthy of reliable partners that fully respects each party’s considerations. We need gas, that is a fact, and therefore any political criticisms levelled at the Russians cannot be mixed with the issues of energy supply and energy security, Mr Orbán laid down.
Concerning the fact that Ukraine spoke out against the Hungarian-Russian gas supply agreement, the Prime Minister said Hungary is regrettably unable to take the considerations of the Ukrainian people into account. “I respect Ukraine and wish the Ukrainian people all the very best, but on the issue of gas we must focus on the Hungarian people’s best interests, not on those of the Ukrainian people,” he stated.
In the context of the Thursday cabinet meeting concerned with the development of Hungary’s defence forces, the Prime Minister said they reviewed the establishment of a defence industry, the technological development of our defence forces, and the status of recruitment, training and the procurement of equipment for members of the military. Additionally, they adopted decisions on the coming year’s development measures.
He stressed that we are living in an era of threats, in migration, too, we need a viable, fully functional army because today we would not be able to take care of border protection without soldiers. He also said Hungary has received very little money from Brussels for border protection.
Regarding the pandemic, the Prime Minister confirmed that the government is fully prepared for the fourth wave, and has accumulated 17 million doses of the vaccine.
Mr Orbán asked everyone to have themselves vaccinated because, he stressed, in the case of this virus there is no herd immunity, this virus will find everyone who has not been vaccinated. “The risk lies not in the vaccine, but in not being vaccinated,” he stated.