The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, Péter Szijjártó in an exclusive interview with Republic TV on Tuesday spoke about the issues faced by Hungary after proposing to back out from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Szijjártóin also stated that Hungary values Indian investors in their country as they contribute to change of the dimension of Hungary's national economy. He also said that Hungary aligns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's idea of nationalism.
Speaking on the issues faced by Hungary amid their battle with the IMF, Péter Szijjártóin said, "We entered office in 2010 when Hungary was really at the edge of the cliff even under the IMF programme. Then we have put together an action plan on how to get out of the crisis and how to make Hungary strong but the IMF did not want to approve that economic policy strategy of ours so rather we concluded the corporation with IMF and we have regained back the freedom to act. Then we followed and completed a very brave economy policy. The economy policy basis of which was the elimination of the progressive tax system and the introduction of the flat tax, both for personal as well as corporate income."
"Currently, we offer a lower tax rate in entire Europe. We are the only country which offers a single-digit of 9% corporate income tax rate and 15% personal income tax rate. We are continuously cutting the labour tax rate and the conclusion of which is currently we have the highest growth rate in the European Union that is 5.1%. Our unemployment rate has come down to 3% from 12.5%. So we have boosted the economy by increasing the GDP as well. All this is the result of the introduction of the Flat tax system. Out of 10 million of our total population 4.5 million are our taxpayers today. In 2010, only more than a million people paid taxes. Basically our employment rate has surpassed 70%," he added.
Talking about the Indian Investment in Hungary he said, "First of all, the lowest tax rates are very attractive. We also apply the one-stop-shop system which means that whoever comes to invest in Hungary can do it directly by the investment agencies, there are project managers for the company and they will help with the investment process. We also have, many cash incentives for our investors up to 50% of the value of an investment in cash.
He added, "We really respect Indian investors as they are very diligent and also they bring the latest technology lastly they contribute to change of the dimension of our national economy. The biggest investors from India in Hungary is SMR Automotive, they operate more factories and automotive components. The TATA group has a big presence in Hungary. TCS employee over 2000 people in Hungary. Altogether, around 40 big Indian investments in the country. The Indian firms are employing over 10,000 Hungarians. We have also signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the SMR and TATA group."
When asked about how the current government manage the economic crisis, Szijarrto said, "The key is you need to be extremely disciplined on budgetary issues. On the other hand, we have a principle is that the state does not pay anything for nothing. We only pay something for something, which means that the vast subsidies are given to citizens in the form of tax exemption. It basically means that in order for the State to take care of you, you have to work. If you fail to find a job for three months the State offers a job. If a person rejects the State-offered job, he is out of the social system. So everybody has to work to bring the country forward," he added.
Further talking about illegal immigrants entering Hungary, he said, "We have a strong Anti-migration policy. Our policy is that we stick to our right to decide whom we allow into our country. This decision must be made by us Hungarians only. So in order to achieve that we have sealed the borders and also built a fence which does not allow anybody to enter the country illegally. The only way to enter Hungary is the legal way. Entering the country illegally is against our sovereignty and so we push it back. We have zero illegal immigrants in our country."
When asked about border fences, the Foreign Affairs minister said, "Building the fence cost us a lot of money. There were 400 thousand illegal immigrants showing no respect for law and attacking the police who were marching into the Hungarian territory. Our obligation to the State was to protect it and ensure a safe State for the people. So we began to build a fence. Those people who have violated our borders have crossed six safe countries to enter Hungary. What is the reason for someone to violate so many borders of safe countries? There is no right no international regulation to violate safe borders. So by definition who violate the borders, they cannot be a refugee but they are economic migrants," he stated.
Talking about Brexit and European Union, he said, "We regret the decision of the British but we respect it as well. We never judge or criticise the decision of others. Leaving EU will cause some damage to the European economy and we would prefer if they stay. Boris Johnson is the only Prime Minister in the recent history of the UK to fulfil the will of the people. We are fed up with the criticism on Boris Johnson. It is very hypocritical."
The Hungarian Foreign Minister also remarked that Hungary respects politicians who are patriotic and we look at patriotism as not something that is dangerous. Péter Szijjártó said, "Actually we respect PM Modi very much because we respect politicians who are patriotic and we look at patriotism as not something that is dangerous. You know, liberals, international media, tend to pose something bad and dangerous. We think totally in the other direction. Patriotism is good because of we patriots, we respect each other. We respect President Trump a lot when he says America first because what else should he say? These are all so hypocritical and politically correct statements. We respect Prime Minister Modi a lot. Hopefully, we the foreign ministers joining the rising dialogue will be received by him, that's going to be a great honour."
Furthermore, he added, "We have also discovered these similar kinds of approaches to major dialogue between the economies but we have to put into consideration that India is a superpower and we are a small European country. So the dimensions are different but still, the direction of the approach is pretty similar."
Szijjártó also reflected upon the term 'Nationalist' and how it is being misused. He said, "Expression of a nationalist is being misused. What nationalism means is to like your nation and put it first. That's why we are careful as well because you know we are living in a world where media has a strong impact. But we always respect those ideas, those persons, those elect governments who consider their nation as number one because what else should they consider number one, right?"