The government will adopt new demographic policies and possible measures to support growth, PM Viktor Orban announced on the government’s usual weekly press conference. The event was hugely expected since this was the conference attended by Orban rather than the PM Office minister. The new demographic programme will be announced in a month, Orban said, possibly on his state of nation speech in the beginning of February. The programme will be based on the results of the national consultation on family protection, which was responded by 1.4mn people, Orban said. The government already works on the programme, he added.
The government wants to target economic growth of 4% and above even in an unfavourable external environment, Orban stated. He noted that the finance ministry projected 3.9% growth in 2019 without new pro-growth measures. The risk for growth falling below the 4% target might require fiscal stimuli and the government will discuss this issue in the second half of January, Orban emphasised.
Orban was asked twice about the expiration of the mandate of National Bank of Hungary (NBH) Gyorgy Matolcsy in March, one of the questions directly asked whether Orban will re-nominate Matolcsy for a second mandate. In both cases, Orban replied that no surprises should be expected, in our interpretation meaning that Matolcsy is likely to remain on the post. Matolcsy and finance minister Mihaly Varga should be praised for the solid economic fundamentals of Hungary in 2018, Orban said. He noted that growth was expected to reach 4.6% and the budget deficit to come at 2% of GDP, which is better than expected.
Fidesz wants to be the best performing party in the EP elections this year, Orban stated. The ruling Fidesz’ list is headed by justice minister Laszlo Trocsanyi and Orban indicated that Trocsanyi will be the Hungarian nominee for EU commissioner after the elections.