In his weekly Friday interview on Hungarian public radio , Prime Minister Viktor Orbán discussed the recently announced pension hike. Starting 1 November, pensions will be raised by an additional 3.1 per cent, on top of the already-approved 15 per cent raise, retroactively. Thus,
next month’s pensions will be about 1.5 times higher than in the previous month’s
for the average old age pensioner in Hungary.
The estimated cost of the increase is 190 billion HUF. When asked in the interview if there is room in the government’s budget for this additional expenditure, PM Orbán replied that there is not, but the government has the duty to ‘take on the impossible at times’. He then elaborated that the consequent deficit in the government budget would be covered by increasing the national debt. ‘We’ll be a very strong and happy country when the budget has a surplus, but right now it doesn’t,’ he claimed, adding that the domestic budget has been ‘ruined sometime during the Communist regime’.
The Prime Minister also drew a comparison between his and the Gyurcsány–Bajnai administration, his immediate predecessors, saying that
while the Socialist administration took away a full month’s pay from pensioners, his government has not ‘taken away a single penny’ from the nation’s elderly.
He went on to state that Hungarians should ‘feel some pride’ over the fact that they can provide for their pensioners during times of war.
As for the broader topic of inflation, Viktor Orbán expressed his conviction that his government will curb it by the end of the year, down to single digits, opining that it can go as low as 4–6 per cent next year. He added that while 2023 will be the year of fighting inflation, he is hopeful that 2024 will be the year when Hungary returns to growth.
Sources: Hungarian Conservative/MTI