‘Hungary belongs to the Hungarians’ – PM Orbán says 500,000 workers needed but future jobs must be filled by Hungarians

Orbán also discussed Hungary’s national budget, the construction of gas-powered plants, and the state of the country’s automotive sector

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: John Cody

Hungary would need 500,000 new workers in the next year or two, but foreign workers should not be favored; instead, the focus should be on mobilizing Hungarians, said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán during a speech on Hungary’s economic situation at an event hosted by the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK).

“Hungary belongs to the Hungarians,” said Orbán. “We cannot allow foreign labor to be allowed in for the sake of convenience. Otherwise, we will lose our security.”

Orbán added that “it must be made clear that emphasis is being placed on the mobilization of reserves within the country.”

The Hungarian government may have its work cut out for it, given that the country has record low unemployment levels, meaning the country has a very tight labor market. However, Orbán states that their efforts to find new workers are focusing on eastern Hungary.

“Debrecen will soon be full, Nyíregyháza in a year. Békés county is almost there, although it still has some internal reserves,” the prime minister said while listing potential cities from where workers can be sourced.

Hungary reduced its deficit and national debt

Orbán touched on various facets of the Hungarian economy during his speech, saying that despite numerous interventions, the government is not planning on a socialist policy and remains committed to the market.

The Hungarian prime minister highlighted that the budget deficit decreased despite the tough economic conditions Hungary faced in 2022. He said that this is also remarkable considering his party was up for reelection in 2022, which it won in a landslide victory. In many countries, incumbent governments in power usually increase the deficit to better ensure election victory, but his government actually bucked this trend.

“I would like to draw attention to the fact that we are an exception: In Hungary, the government reduced the deficit and the national debt in the year of an election,” Orbán said.

He reminded listeners that this happened not only in the 2022 election, but also in the 2018 and 2014 elections. 

“This is an economy-focused government,” the prime minister emphasized, describing the fifth Orbán government. “The most important issue will be the economy in the four years ahead.”

Orbán also pointed out that the power structure in Europe is shifting and much of this has to do with the war in Ukraine.

“Europe’s power structure is being restructured. With the first step, the European economy was separated from the Russian economy,” said Orbán.

According to the prime minister, the fact that Ukraine could be a candidate for EU membership was an absurd statement a year ago. By now, however, it has already happened. “A type of Central European center is emerging that we have not seen on the map before,” predicted the prime minister. 

He also noted that the U.S. is no longer deploying its military forces in Germany, but in Poland because of the war in Ukraine. 

Securing Hungary’s energy independence and growing exports

Orbán also stated that Hungary has industrial leaders, high-qualified workers, engineers and IT specialists, but that increasing energy prices were taking their toll.

According to the prime minister, it follows that since Hungary requires energy, it must be produced domestically. This energy must be created in Hungary, and this will be the goal for the next two years.

“We will build gas power plants,” said Orbán. “The Union does not prohibit these, in the current situation it is not considered an enemy. It is necessary to build two to three high-performance power plants. These are already underway in eastern Hungary.”

In relation to the automotive industry, the prime minister stated that technological changes are driving change and that in 2035 it will no longer be possible to manufacture gasoline-powered cars. Hungary must adapt to the growing electric car market, as this will dominate in the next decade. Orbán stressed that Hungary must keep its automotive sector growing and domestic.

“It will be a challenge for us if we cannot produce the tools necessary for the production of electric cars,” he said.

He also emphasized that Hungary continues to receive record amounts of foreign investment, which will help sustain Hungary’s successful export economy, which is greatly tied to the automotive market but other important sectors as well.

“In terms of population, we are 94th in the ranking of countries in the world, and 34th in terms of exports. Last year, our exports increased by 19 percent. This makes us the 15th most open economy in the world,” said Orbán.

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