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HUNGARY: Green-Left Party declares its support for basic income

Green-Left party in Hungary proposes the introduction of a basic income to which all Hungarian citizens would be entitled.

On February 15th, the party Párbeszéd Magyarországért (“Dialogue for Hungary”) announced in a press conference that it would push for the implementation of a basic income in the country.

The announcement followed a vote of the party congress where 90% of the members voted in favour of the policy.

Under the proposal, children would receive about 80 euro per month, adults 160 euro and young mothers 240 euro. The party promised to come forward with more detailed calculations in support of their proposal’s feasibility in the upcoming months.

The poverty line in Hungary is estimated around 200 euro for a single adult, 830 euro for a family of two parents with two children.

A promise for a “liveable Hungary”

According to co-chair Tímea Szabó, who represents the party in the Hungarian parliament, the country is “terribly ill”, with suffering and lack of perspectives spreading like cancer through society. In this situation, the basic income is also a promise for a “liveable Hungary”, which would also produce positive economic effects, i.e. encourage investments and create jobs by strengthening demand.

Tímea Szabó

Tímea Szabó

Co-chair of the party Gergely Karácsony stressed that such a model would lead to a substantial transformation of existing benefits, thereby reducing bureaucracy and improving existential security for all citizens. He explained that all citizens would be eligible for the basic income, however it would not mean higher income for better off classes, as it would come with scrapping the current flat tax on incomes in favour of a progressive model.

The party announcement provoked a new wave of awareness in Hungarian media, including a long feature about basic income on the website of the national weekly HVG. Last year, a detailed study on basic income (pdf) published by an hungarian independent think tank came out in favor of basic income and seem to have inspired Dialogue for Hungary.

The other green party in Hungary (Lehet Más a Politika, LMP) is also in principle supportive of basic income and the Socialist Party also promoted it briefly during its campaign for the national elections in 2014. However, Dialogue for Hungary is the first Hungarian party with representation in parliament that officially throws itself behind the idea of basic income. The party currently have one seat in national parliament and one seat at the European Parliament.

First step: a minimum income in Budapest

While the party is in great minority at national level, it plans to put word into action through the city of Budapest, whose 14th district is mayored by the party’s co-chair Karácsony. His administration is about to introduce a means tested minimum income model that would ensure that all citizens within the district facing hardship receive at least 85 euro per month – which is 10 euro above the standard social benefit level in Hungary.

With this move, the Hungarian Left-Green Party is joining many of its sister green parties across the world who support basic income, including France, Finland, the UK, the United States.

 

About Stanislas Jourdan

Stanislas Jourdan has written 43 articles.

Mediactivist.

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The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

3 comments

  • Let’s be precise! This is NOT basic income. Mostly not unconditional. This is an extended social support. They just wanna collect some political capital with this idea. Two years before they strictly refused even the idea of the basic income. I say: the direction is better than before, but the amount is lesser than enough. Sorry. 🙁

  • Anna Lilla

    OK, let’s be precise! This IS a basic income conception, absolutely unconditional. Do you have any argument against it? No, as you can’t have any.

    And you can have your opinion about the amount, but this is a question of fiscal policy, and not of theoretical definition.

    I know these guys, they just started two years ago, and they are opened to UBI from the beginning as they have some great expert of this topic amongst they members.

  • Basicincome Hungary

    (Dialogue for Hungary) of basic income program:
    I do not claim that this is the best basis of his conception of the world (but it is also something that has been invented at least something that will develop in the meantime) Whereas, under this program would receive 166 euros a month for men, women and EUR 250th Or so I’m not sure that this is a condition without a basic income.

    Quote of the http://alapjovedelmet.hu/ about:

    HUF 25 000 (EUR 84)
    No child may receive less than 25 thousand forints.

    HUF 50 000 (166 EUR)
    A single adult income, not lower than 50 thousand forints.

    HUF 75 000 (250 EUR)
    A single mom does not get pregnant less than 75 thousand forints.

    HUF 100 000 (333 EUR)
    not a single full-time employee take home less than 100 thousand forints.

    (Unfortunately, the public workers’ minimum wage is still only 166 euros per month. http://vs.hu/gazdasag/osszes/nem-novekedik-a-kozmunkasok-bere-0223?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social#!s1 )

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