Critics question Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán’s economic claims

2014. április 3. 10:52

Kester Eddy
Financial Times
But critics say growth in 2013 was largely down to better weather, which boosted agriculture after an appalling 2012, and investment is dominated by state infrastructure projects, funded by a last-minute drawdown of EU funds.

„Mr Orbán’s message has certainly galvanised many Hungarians who give Fidesz a commanding lead in the opinion polls, with some 50 per cent support from committed voters. The opposition left-liberal alliance, centred on the Socialists, is trailing with around 23 per cent, barely ahead of the far-right Jobbik party, on about 20 per cent.

»Yes, I think the government is performing better, economically and spiritually too, which has been a very neglected area. They have been making every effort since they came in, taking responsibility [for the mess] of the previous [Socialist] government,« a retired chemical engineer in Budapest, who declined to give her name, told the Financial Times.

Central to creating this support, unprecedented in Hungarian political history before an election, has been a flat rate of personal tax of 16 per cent, benefiting those earning above the average monthly salary of €730, and a swath of government-enforced cuts on household utility prices, which has won voter support across all income groups.
The economy grew by 1.1 per cent last year, with the government and the EU forecasting 2.0-2.1 per cent in 2014; consumer price inflation in February was a mere 0.1 per cent, and unemployment figures reveal just 8.6 per cent jobless – down from 11.4 per cent four years ago.

But critics say growth in 2013 was largely down to better weather, which boosted agriculture after an appalling 2012, and investment is dominated by state infrastructure projects, funded by a last-minute drawdown of EU funds.”
 
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