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Orbán opens parliament session, talks tough on issues

History

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán opened the autumn 2013 session of parliament today with a long “state of the administration”-type speech in which he talked tough when weighing in the forex-based mortgage loan issue, repayment of IMF loans, economic growth and Hungarian wages. The peak (or nadir, depending where on the political spectrum one stands) of the talk was certainly the comparison of foreign economists to Soviet scientists of the bad old days.

Courtesy of Portfolio.hu, BBJ runs some of the more telling lines from the prime minister below; we’ll let the statements speak for themselves.

On the ruling Fidesz-KDNP government’s recent achievements: “After a long and manly (sic) battle, we have freed Hungary from the EU’s excessive deficit procedure […] we have never before stood on such solid ground.

“We have freed the country from the grip of the International Monetary Fund. Hungary has repaid the IMF loan to the last cent. Only those countries whose reserves are sufficient and whose government is stable can manage this. We have ended the constant pressure by which this organization would have forced austerity on us.”

On wages: “We must not raise wages from credit; there must be growth and improving economic performance behind wage increases.”

On economic growth: “London-based analysts are the modern day equivalents of Soviet scientists. We are more cautious than them [and we] expect 2% economic growth for next year.”

On forex-based loans: “Hungarian families will be safe if the banks do not coerce them to sign such [loan] deals…

“The banks abused their own position and [exploited] the people’s naïveté. They were propagating [forex-based] loans while they were aware of the potential risks. They knew exactly what would happen if exchange rates went haywire, they [played down] the risks to customers in advance, [and] they made a deal that meant a huge profit only for them.

“It is a moral obligation of the banks to modify the [loan/mortgage] contracts. We are calling on the banks to bear most of the losses stemming from the exchange rate changes themselves. If they do not comply voluntarily by November 1, the government will take steps [to do so].”

In closing: “The banks and corporates in monopolistic positions had better get used to this new situation. Now we are stronger and they have to adjust to Hungarians, not the other way around. No one will get extra profit at the expense of the Hungarian people again in this country.

“Rescuing the families and the homes is a national issue. I am asking for an active support [on this] by every parliamentary group and fellow MP.”

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