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Orbán’s left-wing followers

February 20th, 2013

A young conservative blogger has noticed that left-wing leaders in neighbouring countries tend to emulate PM Viktor Orbán’s “unorthodox” economic policies.

On Mandiner, Bence Földi, a young blogger who publishes his writings on several conservative websites, contends that the economic philosophy of the Hungarian government is becoming surprisingly popular among left-wing leaders in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania.

The shadow finance minister of the Czech Social Democratic Party (now in opposition, but leading the opinion polls) told Bloomberg news agency that he would follow a Hungarian-style economic policy in case his party wins the next elections. Ján Mládek said he would tax big business, rather than laying the entire burden on the population and would impose special taxes on certain segments of the economy. He also praised Hungary’s move to re-channel compulsory private pension funds into the sphere of public finances.

Robert Fico, Slovakia’s left-wing Prime Minister, Földi continues, has imposed a special tax on banks and multinational enterprises, encroached on the private pension-fund contributions and is planning to nationalise the natural gas provider. On the other hand, he has also abolished the flat tax system which was recently introduced in Hungary, and is carefully avoiding confrontation with Brussels. Nevertheless, in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Mr Fico did not hide the fact that he has been borrowing ideas from his Hungarian counterpart.

Analysing statements by Romania’s left-wing Prime Minister, Földi also finds elements which remind him of Hungary’s “unorthodox” economic philosophy. PM Viktor Ponta announced a plan to impose a special tax on “giant enterprises” in mining and in energy production, to increase the special levy on tobacco and raise the minimum wage and old age pensions. In response to German critics who compared him to the Hungarian Prime Minister, Mr Ponta said, however, that they had nothing in common – apart from their first names.

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