Welfare states will not return to western Europe as they are uncompetitive, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in Bucharest on Thursday. European societies should be based on work instead, he said.
“It’s wrong to think that European life will continue unchanged after the crisis … nothing will remain as it used to be, and we should stand our ground in that kind of future,” Orban told Hungarian reporters after addressing a European People’s Party congress. “This is what I encourage all EPP members to do.”
In his speech delivered in English at the congress, Orban said that “the crisis cannot be managed by the same policy and with the same tools which have caused the crisis itself.”
Asked by MTI to interpret this statement, Orban said the period of economic growth based on financial speculation was over. Financial services can no longer substitute productive work which generates value.
Measures to develop work-based societies include cutting taxes on labour, shifting the focus of taxation to sales taxes and sharing out public burdens fairly, Orban said.
“The crisis cannot be managed by the same policy and tools which have caused the crisis itself,” he said in the speech he delivered to the PPP congress in English.
Innovative, “unorthodox” measures are needed instead, he said.
Orban said no one should stretch beyond their means.
“We cannot live beyond our means. It is easy to say but difficult to do.”
“Structural reforms are not enough … We need renewal and full-fledged reorganisation of our societies,” he said.
There is a need to improve competitiveness, decrease sovereign debt and maintain social stability in the meantime, Orban added.
To meet these aims, a technocratic management will not do; political leadership is needed, he said.
He added that “more Europe” was needed while countries should have their own national choices on policy.
“Every single country should be allowed to make its own policy mix,” he said.
Orban said the EPP must address the question of why “populist, extremist forces are the ones to become stronger during the crisis.”
“We must not be elitist, bureaucrats and technocrats,” but convince crisis-hit people that “democracy should equal the hope for a better future.”