picture of press conference

In the last 12 years, we have learned that retirees are only important to Viktor Orbán at election time, said László Szakács (pictured, right) at a Sunday press conference in which the united opposition announced its policy platform for Hungarian retirees.

The Prime Minister spends much less on Hungarian retirees than the EU average, claimed the DK politician. Before the “panic-induced” social welfare benefits handed out at the end of last year, 1.2 million elderly people in Hungary lived on less than 130,000 Ft. (US $401) monthly. He also said that by eliminataing the “Swiss indexation” method of calculating pension increases, “Viktor Orbán took away 1.2 million Ft. ($3,700) from every single elderly person.”

The united opposition, in contrast, promises a predictable, long-term, three-pillar pension insurance and calculation system instead of mass spending on pensioners right before the elections. László Szakács also pledged to make pension insurance records transparent, so that everyone will be able to view their earnings and deducted contributions.

If they win the elections, the opposition will retain an option for women to retire after the age of 40, keep the 13th month pension benefit, and make the system for disability benefits fairer.

MSZP politician Lajos Korózs (pictured, left) also spoke at the event, where he stated that the inflation-based pension system was a tragedy, calling it the “scam of the century” perpetuated by Viktor Orbán in which the poor will get even poorer and the rich even richer.

The opposition wants to create a social security-based pension system, said Korózs, who is also the chair of the Wefare Committee. In Hungary today, pensioners are just one more budget item to Viktor Orbán. In his view, the current system has become rigid, which is why they want to make it possible for everyone to be flexible with their retirement options.

The average pension should be at least fifty percent of the net minimum wage, Korózs said, and include partial years in its calculation as well. In addition, one of the new government’s first and more important steps will be launching a pension program to help retirees get up to speed.

We opposition politicians say that retirees are not a burden on society but a value. And a condition for creating a society with solidarity is that every person has value. Consequently, this is the guideline that will direct and guide our old-age and pension policies.

-said Lajos Korózs.

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By Steven N.

Steven is the editor-in-chief of Hungarian Politics. He has been following the political scene in Hungary and the Central European region more or less since 1994.