Hungary could come out of crisis caused by coronavirus epidemic even stronger
03. 07. 2020.
If Hungary does not allow the coronavirus epidemic to start spreading again, if “we keep our wits about us in the protection of the borders,” if we support investments and job creation, and if we do not allow the West to take us “for a fool,” then we can come out of the crisis even stronger, the Prime Minister said on Kossuth Radio’s programme ‘Good morning, Hungary’ on Friday. He also highlighted that if health care experts – whom he thanked on the occasion of Semmelweis Day – prepare themselves well and work well, then there will be no second wave.

In answer to a question about a possible second wave of the epidemic, Mr Orbán said Hungary won the battle against the first wave of the epidemic, but “this is only a partial victory,” “we did not win the war, we only won a battle”. As the world around us has an impact on Hungary, we must decide well and wisely about where we are going on holiday for instance; we must seriously consider whether we should go on holiday abroad. “At this time, it is perhaps better to choose Lake Balaton,” he stressed.

At the same time, it is the government’s duty to keep monitoring the situation, “to not go on holiday;” “we will have to stay here in the office for quite a few weeks longer”.

He confirmed that the government will resist pressure from Brussels to let people in from ever further countries without controls. Therefore, for the time being, Hungary is not letting anyone in from non-EU countries, not including Serbia, without controls, while transit travellers are only allowed to pass through the country via designated corridors.

We must also ensure that the intensification of migration should not jeopardise the Hungarian health care situation, the Prime Minister added, observing that in the states lying along the traditional migrant routes the number of infections is rising, meaning that at this time the protection of borders is also a health protection measure, and this is one of the reasons why border protection has been strengthened. He added that the activity of people smugglers had intensified as well.

“We need our police officers, our soldiers […]. What we are observing in Western Europe and in the United States – that society and politics are betraying their own police officers – is unacceptable in Central Europe,” he stated.

Mr Orbán also spoke about the transit zones, highlighting that the Court of Justice of the European Union declared stay in the transit zones to constitute detention. In response to this, the Hungarian government closed them down, and made the protection of the borders even more stringent.

“If we want Hungary to continue to remain a peaceful, safe and secure place, then we must take action against migration with maximum severity,” he said.

He added that in the national consultation now under way, there is also a question about the connection between migration and epidemics because these two are related in several respects.

Commenting on the EU “recovery” fund planned to be set up due to the epidemic, he said “it is, in actual fact, a form of aid provided by us for the Southern countries”. The countries of Central Europe which are in much better shape financially must consider whether they want to help countries which did not suffer under many years of communism, which joined the EU earlier and which are richer than themselves, he said, stating that “we are ready” to help the Southern states in trouble, but in return for helping them he asked for fair treatment because “we don’t want to be taken for fools”.

He took the view that Central Europe has every reason to be proud, in the fight against the epidemic it was more effective than countries of the West, and its economies are competitive; “there is only one problem, that we are poorer,” but this is “the communists’ fault”.

He also pointed out that today Germany is the richest country in the EU, the country which was bombed “back to the Middle Ages,” while Central Europe which was “thrown to the Soviet Union” is making good progress. There is a paradigm shift on an historic scale: Germany and Central Europe are expected to pull the continent out of the trouble it is in, he stressed.

“We must be successful together, Europe must stand together […], but this requires Brussels to stop wanting to force on us a lifestyle that the Hungarian people, the Czech people and the Polish people don’t want”. “They should let us live our own lives, and then together we will be successful;” the time has come for nation states to combine forces smartly, not to build an empire, he stated.

Regarding the 2021 budget – which Parliament will vote on later on Friday – the Prime Minister said it contains stable figures, and robust epidemic containment and economy protection funds. He said we must now win a second battle, the protection of jobs, of which the budget serves as a means.

He also mentioned the gradual reintroduction of the 13th month pension, and the fact that the amount of the infant care allowance will be raised to 100 per cent of the mother’s salary.

On the radio programme, he spoke about the left-wing opposition as well, regarding which Mr Orbán said he no longer understands what the Left are doing as they did not support the country in times of trouble, they made ongoing attempts to debilitate the country’s crisis management capacity, and tried to cause panic in the country with a fake video post which can be regarded as the moral low point of the past 30 years.

He also fails to understand why they keep “stealing” national consultation questionnaires out of letter boxes. Hungarian people are mature enough; if they do not like the consultation questionnaires, they will not send them back, he said.

The Prime Minister underlined that the cabinet in Hungary is not organised on ideological grounds. Hungary has a national government, and therefore politicians on the Left could still remain left-wing, whilst supporting measures that are in harmony with their way of thinking.

Finally, regarding the German EU presidency, Mr Orbán said if Hungary receives fair treatment in the economic debates now under way, it will be able to cooperate with the German presidency.

However, on one issue, the issue of asylum, Hungary is unable to cooperate with the Germans because while they are attempting to remedy demographic problems with migration, the Hungarian people do not believe that a population replacement coming from the Muslim world would result in a peaceful, Christian and Hungarian life, he stated.