Labour shortages must be addressed with demographic solutions
26. 08. 2016.
In an interview with public broadcaster Kossuth Rádió on Friday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that in the long term he would address labour shortages with demographic and family policy solutions.

Mr. Orbán said that Hungary needs more children and stronger families, because “if more children are being born, more of us in Hungary will be working”. Today, however, this attitude “is not a fashionable one. Countries in Europe want to solve the issue of labour shortages with migration and immigrants, because their time-horizons do not extend past tomorrow”, he explained.

Answering a question on a potential reduction in payroll taxes, Mr. Orbán said that this is “an issue of means”; reducing payroll taxes is a “good thing”, but it is important that this also fits into longer-term plans.
He also noted that, while there are a number of jobs that cannot be filled in Hungary, there is still unemployment. This means that there are “internal reserves” which have to be mobilised.

The Prime Minister emphasised that currently Hungary has the fifth lowest unemployment rate in Europe: around 5 per cent. He said that this achievement is a tremendous one, as in 2010 Hungary’s unemployment rate was around 12 per cent.

Mr. Orbán declared that it is by no means impossible to ensure that everyone in Hungary who wants to work can actually work. He also drew attention to the fact that wages have been steadily increasing, while Hungary’s competitiveness has been improving, unemployment has been falling, and the economy has been expanding.

The Prime Minister also spoke about the results achieved by Hungarian athletes at the Rio Olympics, which came to an end last week. Speaking about Hungary’s eight gold medals, he said that “we beat the world eight times”, and that Hungary’s achievement was outstanding: “Hats off” to the Hungarian competitors at the Olympic Games.

Independent of political conviction, today everybody sees the Olympic achievements as a Hungarian success, and sport as an industry to be supported; this in itself is a great achievement: sport has become a national issue, he said.

Mr. Orbán also added that the Government would like to ensure that young people in Hungary do sports every day.

He said that a twelve- to fifteen-year plan is needed which pays attention to demographic changes, to harmonising physical education in schools with courses offered in clubs, and also to financial issues.

Speaking about Budapest’s bid for the 2024 Olympics, Mr. Orbán said that the chances of hosting the event are moderate, as among the bidders there are “three Goliaths” – Paris, Rome and Los Angeles – and “one David” – Budapest. He also noted, however, that there are a number of arguments in favour of the Hungarian capital – for example, that Hungary is the only one of the top ten nations in Olympic history which has never hosted the event. Another argument in favour of Budapest is that organisers “want to give back the right to host the Olympic Games to the whole world”, so that it is not only the preserve of “mega cities”. Furthermore, the Olympics would also bring huge economic advantages, he stressed, adding that, even without the Olympics, there are hardly any such projects which would not have to be implemented in Budapest.