The opposition Párbeszéd party launched a signature drive in Budapest, as part of a citizens’ initiative calling for the introduction of a universal basic income across the European Union. Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony, the party’s co-leader, told a press conference on Blaha Lujza Square in central Budapest that a basic income for all EU citizens would remedy income inequalities within Hungary and the EU.
It could be a basis for a “new, social Europe and a new social democracy in Hungary”, he said. Karácsony said that in recent years, “many have amassed huge private fortunes … while one-third of society lives in perpetual uncertainty, poverty and discrimination”. He said that a further one-third teetered on the edge of descending into such a condition. Karácsony insisted that the concept was financially feasible. “All it takes is political will,” he said. Párbeszéd will work to include the introduction of a UBI in the opposition parties’ joint programme in the 2022 general election, he said.
Tímea Szabó, Párbeszéd’s other co-leader, said that the initiative had to gather one million signatures within one year for the European Commission to table the proposal. Regarding the scale of universal income, Szabó said Párbeszéd proposed 100,000 forints (EUR 274) for every Hungarian adult and 150,000 for expecting mothers. Families would get 50,000 forints after every child, she said. Another aim is to guarantee a gross 250,000 forint salary for full-time employment in Hungary, Szabó said.