Hungary: Basic income related activity in Hungary

In spite of its right-wing government, spearheaded by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, there is already a seed of activity for basic income advocacy in Hungary. A recently formed group, named First Hungarian Universal Basic Income Association, has an active social media profile and has organized meetings and conferences to present and discuss basic income, the latest of which will be held next 23 to 25th of November in Budapest. The Progressive Hungary Foundation is also participating in the event.


There is also a political party defending the basic income proposal, the Dialogue for Hungary. A working group within this party has produced a concrete basic income implementation proposal for Hungary. According to Sarath Davala, co-chair of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), “there is a great deal of curiosity about basic income” in Hungary. On the 31st of August 2018, Dialogue for Hungary promoted a presentation where Davala spoke about the Indian basic income pilot, a packed event at which several Members of the Hungarian Parliament were present.


Reference research work on basic income has also been produced by Hungarian scholars. Titled “Basic income as a Realist’s Transformative Strategy”, this work is authored by Gabor Scheiring, Miklós Sebők and Bence Tordai (Hungarian Parliament Member). The abstract can be read as follows:


“Progressive politics needs bold new visions that can be contrasted to current processes of erosion. Based on research conducted at the Progressive Hungary Foundation as well as on already existing policy proposals we elaborate a basic income scheme in line with the recent proposal of Iván Szelényi (2014) that could be immediately implemented in Hungary. In this chapter we first analyze the political rationale of the proposal illuminating the careful balance between desirability, feasibility and achievability. The most important moral argument in favor of the basic income is that it allows a basic freedom and a basic sense of security for everyone (Van Parijs, 1995). These general arguments have been laid out in detail already so we concentrate on the politics of our scheme. Next, we describe in detail the working of the scheme as divided into various eligibility groups and we also present detailed financial evidence that the proposal can be introduced immediately without impairing the balance of the budget. We conclude our proposal by pointing out the social effects of the scheme as well as elaborating the first steps towards implementing the proposal at the EU level.“



More information at:

André Coelho, “Hungary: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán speaks harshly against basic income”, Basic Income News, March 21st 2018

Gabor Scheiring, Miklós Sebők and Bence Tordai, “Basic income as a Realist’s Transformative Strategy”, Research Gate, 2015

About Andre Coelho

André Coelho has written 310 articles.

Activist. Engineer. Musician. For the more beautiful world our hearts know it's possible.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.