Thursday 21 June: Midsummer
We received a request from Moscow (I mean Brussels) that we should change our law on excise duties for Pálinka. Under our laws, the production of Pálinka for home production is exempt from excise duties, provided that it is for home consumption, and is less than 50 litres per year. Now the pen pushers in Brussels are telling us that this law is against E.U. regulations, and asking us to change it. Who runs this country? We are the democratically elected government, chosen by the people of Hungary to govern Hungary. Yet virtually every decision that I’ve made since I came to power has been challenged by the European Union. And who elected them? And they have the cheek to accuse me of being undemocratic. I was shaking with anger when György Matolcsy came to see me. He opened his brief case, and pulled out a bottle of Pálinka and poured out two glasses. After toasting each other and downing in one, I felt a great deal better. We had the idea of a Pálinka strike. In order to protest at this measure, we are thinking of drinking a bottle of Pálinka before each meeting of the European heads of state, and therefore arriving at the meetings totally drunk, as a mark of our disrespect for this bureaucratic organization.
Friday 22 June
Our masters in Brussels have provided us with some unusual good news today. They have confirmed that they will not go ahead with their threat to withhold € 495 million of development funds next year. I called the directors of Közgėp to pass on the good news. Közgėp is the company that wins most public procurement tenders, so they will benefit most from this development. We have a good agreement with Közgėp. They finance Hir TV (and Fidesz come to think about it) and make sure that we stay in power. Then we pass on as many public tenders to them as we can. It’s a win win situation.
Monday 24 June
We had a brain storming session on how to present our economic policies more effectively. Much of the recent economic statistics appear to show Hungary in a very unfavourable light, with things like higher unemployment, lower investment and the country slipping back into recession. We need to improve the message that we get to the electorate. We have agreed on the new message, which goes like this: “We have been distracted from our original policies of growth and high employment by having to deal with attacks from abroad. The banks in particular have been doing everything in their power to discredit us, including getting their friends at rating agencies to downgrade our government debt, meaning we have to pay higher interest. In spite of this, we have reduced government debt, and managed to regain the confidence of the financial markets. The crisis is over. Things can only get better.” This should counter the arguments given by our critics, who say that our nationalist economic policies (such as taxes on banks and foreign supermarkets) have frightened away foreign investors, and that has led to the fall in investment, economic growth and the rise in unemployment. We are also already working on next year’s budget, which should give us further credibility. The only problem is we are expecting a huge amount of income from our new tax on bank transactions, but have no idea exactly how much it will be. Oh well, I’m sure it will all be fine. And we will reduce unemployment by extending our workfare programme, whereby unemployed people are required to work on public programmes for a net wage of HUF 46,500 per month. If they refuse they lose their entitlement to benefits. We will employ 300,000 people this year under such programmes. I’m really starting to share the optimism of our finance minister György Matolcsy. In two years time, Hungary will be the most successful country in the E.U., while countries like Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal will be bankrupt, and the Euro will be history. Then while the E.U. is busy dealing with the Euro crisis, they won’t notice if we change a few laws back, like the Pálinka tax!
FreeHungary; June 27. 2012.