I made it clear to the EU Commissioner that in Hungary more than a quarter of families live below subsistence level and in Europe every fourth child is at risk of income poverty and social exclusion.
It is a priority objective for the European left to take immediate and joint European action to eradicate child poverty and that the common directives be adhered to by all Member State governments.
I have also made it clear to the concerned official of the European Commission that the European minimum family allowance we are calling for could be covered by multi-tax uniformly levied on multinational companies paying minimum tax in Europe. In her response Marianne Thyssen said, among others, that she would support the Member States in their efforts to 'upward social convergence', i.e. the convergence of the living standards of different social groups.
The Commissioner also stated that work would continue to try and force multinationals to pay fair tax.
Commissioner Thyssen's supportive response and the reference to the Child Guarantee scheme initiated by the European Socialists (which we intend later to include the European Family Allowance Scheme) make it clear that we are a step closer to fulfilling our commitment as stated by our European program.
This is important because, according to our principles and objectives, we also need to set minimum levels in the EU in the areas of education, health, nutrition, child welfare, housing, the environment and security. In this framework, an important step is the definition of a standard European family allowance - or a European minimum wage, for that matter - which can proportionately reduce social disparities and increase the safety of children.
It is also worth noting that while we, European Democrats, are working on this, the Fidesz-government is only talking about protecting families and children. Just one fact: The family allowance was last raised in Hungary in 2008; it was not increased by a single penny under Fidesz' nearly ten-year governance. Since then, subsidies are worth over twenty percent less due to inflation. So much for the family-friendly orange rule.
Following the Hungarian PM’s landmark speech in Tusványos in 2014, in which he proclaimed his desire to turn Hungary into an illiberal state, I pledged to draw the public’s attention to the transgressions of this regime in an open letter every week. This is the 262nd time I ring the bells of alarm, as it still seems necessary. And also, because as a radical European Democrat, it is my duty to do so.
dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
22 September, 2019