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Orbán calls for Hungary's reorganization, not just reforms

Hungary needs complete reorganization not just simply reforms, which is what the government is currently asking people to support, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Wednesday.

Orbán told a roundtable discussion about crisis management in Paris as part of the events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the OECD that the recent crisis has changed European history. The former war-based economy has been replaced by a welfare economy and this is now followed by a labor-based economy, he added.

A new approach is necessary for winning social support for great changes, Orbán said. The reforms launched by previous governments in Hungary between 2002 and 2010 had repeatedly failed, and it is "political suicide" to talk about reform today, he added.

Hungary's main problem is its 56% rate of employment, the lowest in Europe, which Orbán called a disgrace. He said that it was a top priority for his government to increase that ratio to 75%. To achieve this, many people must return to the labor market and the government's task is to create jobs for them, he said.

The Hungarian government goes beyond launching reforms; "it is opening a new epoch in history, at least in Europe," Orbán said.

He said examples of the large-scale reorganization of the country were introducing a flat personal income tax, reshaping the pension system, introducing a 10% business tax and convincing people to give up their salary or pension bonuses, generally equivalent to a month's income.

Through one of the first decisions of his Fidesz government, Orbán said credibility in politics has been restored, by cutting the number of deputies in Hungarian parliament and local governments by half.

He said the political and economic changes could not have come about without the two-thirds majority support he gained in the last elections.

"Without strong political leadership it is not possible to reorganize the country," he said.