Putting Hungary Back on the Road to Prosperity
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Fidesz and the allied KDNP party not only retained power in the recent parliamentary elections in Hungary, but they have retained two-thirds of the seats in the Parliament.
April 14, 2014 - Gergely Ternovszky - Articles and Commentary
After the votes have been counted, Fidesz has 133 seats out of 199, which ensures a two-thirds supermajority. From a European perspective, Hungary’s governing party enjoys great support among its people.
Victory did not come as a surprise to anyone. Seeing the processes in Hungary, Fidesz has visibly put Hungary on the track to prosperity, and the Hungarian people have repeatedly expressed their support for their government in the last four years in great numbers. All opinion polls had forecasted Fidesz’s victory.
The Hungarians practically voted for the continuity of a governance with great results.
From crisis to development
Viktor Orbán and his government have reverted Hungary from its economic and social freefall onto the track of prosperity. Crisis management of the government has not only proved to be highly successful, but the country already started growing. Although there are many serious challenges the country is facing, the direction is very promising. The Hungarian people already have a better and calmer everyday life, standard of living and a vision of development and a stable future.
Taking a quick glance at the present state of Hungary and some of its achievements of the last four years, we can see that the country and its cities are now being polished and that new roads, theatres, cultural institutions, schools, universities, kindergartens, hospitals, nurseries, athletic centres, stadiums, etc. have been built and are being built.
The large IMF loan taken by the government before Fidesz came to power in 2010 has been paid back by Hungary in 2013 well before its deadline, and no further IMF loan was necessary to balance the economy, which in itself was a remarkable achievement. The yearly inflation rate of Hungary in 2013 was zero (!) per cent, which has not happened for 43 years. For the first time after 40 years household expenditures have decreased, and they have decreased even remarkably. The general economic results are better than during any years of the last decade. The government deficit has stayed below 3 per cent already for several years, and every sector of the Hungarian economy is recording better results than a year before. Gross domestic product has grown by 2.7 per cent in the last quarter of 2013 and by 1.1 per cent for the whole year. Economists predict economic growth between 2 and 2.5 per cent for all of 2014.
New jobs were created and the level of employment is growing. Unemployment has dropped below 10 per cent and is projected to fall further. In all sectors of the economy – including the public sector – salaries are growing, and the minimum wage is rising. The real disposable value of pensions has been preserved. Social expenditures have been rising. Earlier destruction of public healthcare and education has been halted by this government, and both have been seriously strengthened.
During Fidesz’s government the people and families enjoy a significantly larger assistance in numerous fields. To mention some examples, the previous government radically reduced infant care assistance, which has been widened and largely augmented by Fidesz. Remarkable tax preferences have been given to families, which notably increase with the number of children in the family. Miklós Szócska, minister of the state for social and family affairs, recently that “while the previous government had spent 13 billion Forints on family assistance in four years, the FIDESZ government has spent 240 billion Forints since 2010, including on tax breaks.”
Hungarian families have more money to spend. Domestic consumption is growing due to rises in salaries, the decreasing prices of household ovrehead expenses and the trust in development. Domestic demand became the main driver of growth in 2013.
Further development and growth are most likely to continue, as the latest report of the European Commission forecasts.
Some actions have spurred doubts and criticism, for example the flat tax or some regulations of the labour code. Many Hungarians wish more effective impeachments of crimes committed in the communism, or on the streets of Budapest by the police in 2006. Beside criticism and the difficulties Hungary still faces, a large majority of the voters sees the achivements of their government as outstanding and succesful for the country.
The Hungarians have overcome a series of difficulties to reach the present positive indicators of their country. The continuing of the positive direction is guaranteed by the two-thirds victory of Fidesz. Hungary’s direction is stable and has great support. The country and its government keep in focus democratic and human values, solidarity, the well-being of the people, family, children and the common good. The results, perspectives, forecasts are positive, so let us hope Hungary will reach further success!
Gergely Ternovszky is a PhD student at the the Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest. He was a headmaster and teacher of history and Hungarian culture at the elementary and high school levels. Ternovszky has also worked at large international firms in different positions (human resources, business research, etc.). He has experience in other fields of the education, having been educational advisor at a private firm and manager in a state-owned educational institute. Ternovszky worked as the executive director of the Hungarian OCIPE – Jesuit European Office.