The Prime Minister stressed: the wage increase did not come about in consequence of positive international trends, it is not something „that was given by the IMF”, and neither is it down to sheer good luck.
Millions of Hungarians have worked hard for the possibility of the current wage increase in the past few years, this is a robust achievement, he pointed out, adding that the wage agreement „is not an agreement that is based on a vision”, but an agreement that relies on the hard work we have completed in recent years, something that „we have worked hard for”.
The Prime Minister stressed that similar attempts have been made several times in the past 26 years, but no comprehensive agreement had ever been reached. They have now succeeded in achieving that. He congratulated those who took part in the negotiations, and expressed his appreciation to those who agreed to sign the agreement.
He said that in order to have the opportunity now to talk about wages, we needed jobs, and in order to have jobs, we needed a fully operational economy.
He argued: six years ago we did not talk about wages, but about how to save the economy from financial ruin. He added: at the time, they worked towards creating the pre-conditions for having the opportunity to talk about jobs because this is what was necessary to have the opportunity to talk about wages now.
He underlined that the wage increase „is not a question of good intentions”; it requires a competitive economy and competitive businesses because only competitive businesses are able to pay wages and to raise wages.
Mr Orbán said: he is proud of the significant wage increase also personally as a pre-condition is the existence of competitive businesses. As he said, the State is unable to give jobs to the people. This was tried in socialism, and led to utter ruin. In other words: the executives and owners of businesses are able to provide jobs.
The Prime Minister reiterated: the Government’s economic policy was based on the premise that „if there is work, there is everything”.
He remarked: there are regional inequalities, it is not always easy to find a job, and employees do not always get what they want and what they spent years in education for, but we can now say that everyone who wants to work can find employment in Hungary.
He stressed: the current agreement is about the future, not about how to find jobs, but about making work financially worthwhile.
„As far as the Government is concerned, the meaning of this agreement is – if we manage to accomplish this – that we can now say that not only do we have jobs, but it is financially worth our while to do our jobs”, he stated.
He also pointed out that the agreement is about tax cuts as well, in return for the pay rise. He said that while this is mentioned less, there will be significant contribution cuts for small and medium-sized businesses to which the agreement signed on Thursday will also apply.
Mr Orbán further said that we are on the verge of a technological revolution, in his words, a new industrial revolution. There are technological changes in the modern economies, including Hungary, on such a scale which will alter everything, he added.
In his words, the agreement now signed can also be construed as the starting point of a new economic policy for the years ahead.
He took the view that another agreement will be required soon which will be about technological modernisation, engineering science, and the issues of robotisation and digitisation, and about how the Hungarian economy and society will adjust to these changes.
The agreement serves as a good basis for finding the answer to this question, he said, adding that with the agreement they have created the conditions for entering the new industrial revolution, and they have consequently created an opportunity for Hungary to stand a chance in the great technological competition.
„We cannot sit back and relax, or if we do, only until tonight because tomorrow morning we’ll have to start working on preparing ourselves for the changes which will shake the entire modern economy and will pose major challenges to all of us”, the Prime Minister said.