“Soldiers will be receiving a larger pay increase than originally planned”, the Ministry of Defence’s Parliamentary State Secretary announced at a press conference in Budapest on Wednesday.

“In 2015, the Government decided to increase soldiers’ pay by a total of 50 percent. The last 5 percent of this increase is due in January”, Németh Szilárd said. “However, instead of 5 percent, soldier’s pay will be increasing by 7.4 percent”, he announced, adding that this equates to an average pay increase of 30 thousand forints-a-month.

The State Secretary also told reporters that civilians working for the Hungarian Defence Force, who from this year will be working within a new national defence employee category, will be receiving a uniform pay increase of 35 percent over a period of 4 years. The 20 percent pay rise scheduled for this January equates to an increase of between 39,200 and 74,100 forints per month for national defence employees, depending on their level of education.

Teachers employed by the Hungarian Defence Force can expect a pay rise of between 45,300 and 79,300 forints. Those who undertake further duties, for instance if a special legal regime is introduced that involves military service, may receive even more. For example, if a teacher also helps counter cyber-attacks, they can expect a pay rise of between 63,300 and 94,300 forints-a-month, the State Secretary explained.

Mr. Németh recalled that the new legislation that enables the programme of pay increases to continue in 2019 was adopted constitutionally and according to house rules “in turbulent conditions” amidst the “hysteria” and boycott of the opposition. The defence employee category was also introduced, which will result in a significant pay increase for civilians working in the national defence sector, who until now worked as public officials.

The State Secretary justified the measures with the fact that the work of the Hungarian Defence Force and people employed with the national defence field is the most important guarantor of the security of the Hungarian people and the country’s sovereignty. “There are also new challenges in the world, such as terrorism, migration and cyber warfare, to which responses must be provided. This necessitates the building of a strong and effective army, which in turn requires suitable people”, he explained, highlighting the fact that soldiers are at the focus of the Zrinyi 2026 Defence and Military Development Programme.

The State Secretary was also asked with relation to the opposition protests planned for this week. Mr. Németh told the press that he regards it as important that the people should be able to voice their opinion, including at organised protests, but it seems to him that the opposition just wants to generate “hysteria”, no matter what is happening in reality and what the country’s interests dictate. “Their goal is to topple the Government, and to ensure that there are no elections in May on whether we will be allowing migrants in or not”, he said. He added, however, that the Hungarian people will not accept this; “the Hungarian people want nothing to do with Soros” and want nothing to do with the opposition.