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Natl consensus established on job protection plan, Orbán states

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Friday said a national consensus had been created regarding the government's workplace protection plan.

Workplaces will be protected and the financial transaction duty will finance the plan, Orbán told MR1-Kossuth Rádió. If, for some reason, this is not possible, another solution will be found, but there will be not backsliding on the goals, he added.

Assessing a two-week series of consultations with organizations governing Fidesz signed cooperation agreements with before the 2010 general elections, Orbán said that the party's partners had put forward proposals and alternative solutions, but changing the direction of government policy had not come up.

Commenting on the European Central Bank's objections to the financial transactions duty, Orbán recalled that there had been opposition to all of the government's novel steps so far, and the resulting debate had usually been won by the government. There was opposition to the bank levy and the sectoral crisis taxes, but since then, many other EU countries have introduced such instruments, he noted.

He said there had been talk of a transactions tax in the EU for years, but the strength to introduce it had been lacking.

"We have strength, we introduced it. Naturally, the first reaction was for those negatively affected to reject it and try to stop us. We will see," he added.

Speaking about Hungary's negotiations on precautionary financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, Orbán said there were differences of approach between the government and the IMF/EU. This is appropriate, because they are responsible for the money and we are responsible for more than 10 million Hungarians, he added.

Orbán said there was a far greater degree of agreement on what needs to be done than what was expected.

He reiterated that the relationship with the IMF was not one of sentiment. Sometimes the IMF can help and sometimes not, he added.

In 2010, the IMF could not help Hungary, it would never have agreed to the introduction of the bank levy or other taxes that burdened multinationals, or the restructuring of the pension system, he said. The IMF usually disapproves of what we think of as equitable taxation and says that if things are going well for the banks, then they will go well for the whole economy; but, if life were that simple there would be no need for national governments, he added.