PERG guest lecture summary, by Political Science MA student Veronika Vighova

"Goodbye to the Welfare State? The Social Policy of the Orbán Government in Hungary between 2010 and 2014."
presented by Dorottya Szikra (Eötvös Loránd University and Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest)

Summary written by Veronika Vighova

On Wednesday, February 25th, a guest PERG lecture by Dorottya Szikra was held on the topic of reforms made by the Orbán government between 2010 and 2014. What significantly changed is the checks and balances and the fundamental law that went trough five modifications.  These changes also significantly affect the social policy. Szikra examined in her lecture three aspects of social policy that were reformed by Orbán‘s government and how these changes affect the welfare state. First, there was the reform of the pension system which is according to Szikra only a short-term solution based on ad hoc decisions. Second, the unemployment benefits were also very notably changed by the Orbán government. The introduction of public works is a measure that is without precedent in the modern welfare states. It is accompanied with cutting the social insurance as well as the social assistance. Finally, Szikra also spoke about the changes in family policies that are greatly affected by ideology and therefore focus on better-off families. That, however, leaves the low-income families with decreased benefits and can certainly contribute to the rising child poverty. After the lecture there was also space for questions from the audience that were mostly concerning the reaction of the public to the reforms, and the possibility for change in the future. The reforms made by the Orbán government clearly divert from the reforms introduced in other countries in the aftermath of the crisis and there are little positive prospects for future change.


Photos by Stefan Roch


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