The cost-of-living crisis hitting Hungary has been caused first of all by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, MEP Klára Dobrev of the opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) said on Sunday. “This crisis will last as long as Orbán remains in power,” she said in her first speech delivered as Hungary’s shadow prime minister.
She said her party had formed a shadow cabinet as “Hungary is now farther from Europe than ever over the past thirty years. The crisis is deepening day by day and what we are witnessing is the beginning of collapse. If we fail to take this step now, it will be more difficult later.” Orbán has had “absolute power” for 12 years and during this period he has always blamed others for Hungary’s ills, Dobrev said. Now he attributes all problems to the war in Ukraine, she added. The war, however, cannot explain that Hungary’s rate of inflation is twice that of the other European countries. Nor can it explain the weakening of the forint, the sharp increases in public utility costs, or the dramatic decline in the standards of health care and education, Dobrev said. “The answer is very simple: what the prime minister says is untrue,” she said, insisting that Orbán was hiding behind the war to avoid being blamed for what was happening in the country. The long-awaited peace, however, will not bring the life for Hungarians what they would otherwise deserve; it would not lead to improvements in health care and education, to higher wages and pensions, Dobrev said. She blamed Orbán rather than the war in Ukraine for the European Commission’s Sunday proposal for suspending a part of the EU funds allocated to Hungary.
In her view, the prime minister deceived the whole nation over the past 12 years and during the election campaign when he promised security. “He has deceived the nation, his own electorate, and lied about his plans and goals,” she said. Hungary has no access to the recovery funds as the EU no longer trusts Orbán, and sees no guarantee for the money granted to Hungary not to be stolen, Dobrev said. In her view, Hungary could more easily reach an agreement with the European Union, stabilise its economy and the forint and curb inflation if Orbán was out of office by tomorrow. Calling the Orbán government the source of all ills, Dobrev said that DK had formed a shadow cabinet to be prepared for governing the country. She insisted that every possible effort should be made to pave the way for the soonest possible collapse of Orbán’s government. “There is no life for Hungary outside the European Union,” Dobrev said, adding that the country’s exit from the 27-nation bloc would bring about a euro exchange rate of over 500 forints per euro, bankrupt farms, huge unemployment, a lasting rate of inflation over 30%, travel restrictions and misery.