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Economic recovery praised

May 4th, 2016

Papers close to the government say the reforms are working in Hungary, and they chastise those who refuse to acknowledge this.

Magyar Idők condemns ‘radicals’ from Ferenc Gyurcsány’s party (DK) who protested against the inauguration of a newly built narrow-gauge railway line by lying down on the tracks and blocking the path of a departing train on Monday.

Viktor Orbán has been strongly criticised by opposition parties because during his tenure as Prime Minister the region of his native village Felcsút, where he still owns a family home, has seen heavy investments which his critics consider pointless. The newly opened narrow-gauge railway line connects a controversial new football stadium built in Felcsút (see Budapost April 28th, 2014) with the nearby arboretum – a tourist destination. The current administration has been investing heavily in rebuilding or expanding Hungary’s narrow-gauged railway tracks in other areas, too, hoping that they will boost tourism and help the development of holiday regions.

Magyar Idők‘s Gyula Haraszti quotes Viktor Orbán’s comment that building a new railway line in place of the one that was demolished ‘by the communists’ during the 70s is also a symbolic act. Haraszti criticizes the DK, whose activists said money channelled into the railway construction should have been used in education and health care instead, and claims that they are knocking on an open door, since figures show the reconstruction is under way in these sectors too. Magyar Idők’s editorial then goes on to list the hundreds of billions of forints it says the government has designated to raise teachers’ salaries, improve health care and education, boost R&D, and to extend family tax benefits (on family tax cuts see Budapost Ocober 26th, 2013).

In Magyar Hírlap Csaba Szajlai stresses that the recovery of the Hungarian economy is not pure government spin but is now also substantiated by appraisals from abroad. He quotes a favourable new IMF staff report released last week that says ‘the Hungarian economy is performing very well and its vulnerability to shocks has continued to decline substantially’. In his opinion piece Szajlai also quotes a recent article in Forbes magazine noting that ‘Hungary has come through the financial crisis as something of an unusual success story.’ This success story is clearly the consequence of good government policies, Magyar Hírlap’s analyst asserts.