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Orbán expects 5% GDP growth after 2020

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Hungary’s economic growth is seen to reach an annual 3%-5% in the coming years, and the rate “should climb over 5% after 2020,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán asserted today. He hinted that this can only be achieved if “attacks” from Brussels are tackled, according to state wire service MTI.

Orbán speaking at the MKIK event today (photo: MTI/Szilárd Koszticsák)

Talking today at an event hosted by the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK), the Hungarian leader said that “we must preserve the opportunity to keep Hungaryʼs GDP growth rate at 3%-5% in 2017-2020 … we have to implement a turnaround in competitiveness and reach a range of growth over 5% after 2020,” according to MTI.

Orbán reportedly noted that such goals can only be achieved if Hungary defends the economy from what he perceives as threats, such as those from Brussels affecting the country’s tax system and subsidies for job creation, MTI added. 

Commenting on the debate over whether Hungary needs a national banking system in Hungarian hands, he said it certainly does as during the financial crisis foreign-owned banks had taken their money home rather than lending it in Hungary.  “Money has no smell, but its owner does,” he remarked.

Orbán once again rejected the idea of applying a guest worker program to manage Hungaryʼs labor shortage. While he said he could support bringing in foreign laborers on an ad hoc basis for limited periods of time, he added that Hungary should not drift in a direction that would fill low-skilled jobs with foreigners, according to MTI.

Naming large investment projects such as the expansion of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant, the upgrade of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line and the construction of a dual carriageway between Békéscsaba  and Debrecen, Orbán said Hungary needs “great things” in order to be more than a moderately developed country.

In an apparently sour comment on Budapestʼs recently aborted bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics, the prime minister remarked that “while it may not be understood in Pest,” Hungarians have “always nurtured big thoughts,” therefore the issue of the Olympics “is like a broken rib,” online news portal index.hu reported. He concluded that “we are a great nation, so we should aim for great in the sense of economic policy as well,” the portal quoted Orbán as saying.

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