Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

Row over welfare law amendments

November 14th, 2022

An expert on social work fears that the government’s amendments to the welfare law are meant to weaken public welfare under the pretext of strengthening individual responsibility. A pro-government pundit finds that accusation absurd and groundless.

In an interview with Magyar Hang, social work expert Péter Büki calls the amendments to the welfare law tabled by the government a “social Taygete” (pretending to be one thing, in fact another). Büki finds it abhorrent that the new law defines social security as pertaining to the primary responsibility of the individual, and then of the family, and local businesses. According to the amendments, the state is responsible  for the social security of the individual only if all other levels fail to do so. Büki thinks that the new law will weaken the government’s role in providing welfare under the pretext of strengthening individual responsibility and subsidiarity. He concludes by suggesting that further weakening public welfare provision will increase poverty in Hungary, and children in poor regions will suffer even more.

In Magyar Nemzet, Zoltán Felföldi dismisses such criticism of the welfare law amendments. The pro-government columnist describes as ‘demagogues’ those who claim that the government wants to weaken the state’s responsibility in providing social security. Felföldi recalls that even in the current welfare law, social security is defined as the responsibility of the individual, families, and local communities, and it is clearly stated that the state should intervene only if all other institutions cannot. As for the guiding principle, Felföldi deems it reasonable and legitimate to strengthen individual responsibility as well as the responsibility of families and local communities. He accuses liberals who believe the state should be the primary welfare provider of trying to weaken local communities and downplay their own obligations.