Leader of Hungary’s opposition Peter Marki-Zay is hopeful a crackdown on corruption and joining the European Public Prosecutor's Office will release EU recovery funding to bolster economic growth and investment.
The European Union has been battling with Budapest for several years on numerous issues such as press and academic freedom.
Hungary is due to receive up to €7.2 million in funds designed to stimulate economic growth hampered by the pandemic. Yet disagreements with Brussels over democratic standards have resulted in payments being frozen, says a Reuters news agency report.
The row with the EU and soaring inflation has led to difficulties in Prime Minister Viktor Orban's path to re-election. Indeed, the PM will face a united front of opposition, the first time since the 2010 election landslide victory.
Should Hungary join the European Public Prosecutor's Office and attempt to tackle corruption, Hungary would ensure trust that EU taxpayers’ money was being used correctly, Peter Marki-Zay said during an economic forum.
He went on to say that the funds would be used for social housing programmes, energy efficiency initiatives and energy projects.
Marki-Zay added that if elected, his government would "immediately" hike wages for teachers, healthcare workers, police and social workers. There are also plans to boost healthcare spending by 300 billion forints ($970 million) per year during the next parliament, he said.
Hungary has postponed investment worth 755 billion forints in 2022 to bolster finances following several warnings from the country’s central bank that economic risks were mounting. The government said the move was required to reduce this year’s budget deficit to 4.9% of GDP from a previous 5.9% target.
A statement from the Finance Ministry at the end of December said: "Stimulating the performance of the Hungarian economy with public investments is no longer needed to the same extent.”
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