Instead of political disputes, at this time we need to stand together
23. 03. 2020.
Instead of political disputes and dissension, the time has come for standing together, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in his address before the start of ordinary business in Parliament on Monday.

“Regardless of party affiliation, this is what I’m asking of fellow Members of Parliament, too,” said the Prime Minister who repeated in Parliament the details he had outlined earlier at the online press conference of the Operational Group responsible for the containment of the coronavirus infection.

Also in Parliament, Mr Orbán stressed the importance of cooperation, highlighting that “the period ahead will be difficult” and will demand efforts on everyone’s part, but it is well worth making these efforts because by doing so “we could save human lives”. “The more of us that cooperate, the more lives we will be able to save,” he stressed.

The task we are being faced with is one that no one can solve on their own. Everyone shares responsibility, everyone must make a contribution, everyone must do what they can, he said.

Mr Orbán pointed out that while the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic had started in Asia, it had also been brought in to Europe – something that was hardly avoidable in today’s world.

There is no vaccine for the virus yet, despite the fact that scientists all over the world are determined to discover one, and Hungary itself is making a contribution to this effort, he added, indicating at the same time that a vaccine is not likely to become available in the near future.

“We Hungarians decided to take on the fight against the spread of the virus, instead of waiting for a vaccine,” the Prime Minister stated.

In the normal order of things, it would not have been possible to organise the country’s “collective self-defence”. This, slowing down the rate of infection, protecting those at risk, providing appropriate care, alleviating the ensuing economic consequences and restarting the paralysed economy would not have been possible under the rules that govern in normal peace time, he said.

He pointed out that at this time everyone must step out of their comfort zones; for some time, everyone must work, behave and organise their lives differently. This is why they introduced the special legal order applicable to a state of danger which grants the government means to organise Hungary’s self-defence, he said, adding that the containment effort is being conducted on four fronts: military, police, health care and economic fronts.

He also said the period of the fight against the coronavirus will be a long one, a great many resources will be required, and “we are still only at the very beginning”. Therefore, the Prime Minister expects the Operational Group to manage the available supplies in a disciplined and reasonable manner.

He added that in the West there is a shortage of the supplies and equipment necessary for the containment of the virus, assistance and supplies are only available in East where Hungary has “reserved enormous quantities”, and consignments are arriving on an ongoing basis. More than ten planes are in service, he said.

Mr Orbán thanked health care workers for their efforts so far, pointing out that “they have earned our profoundest appreciation”.

Regarding the health care containment effort, he said there are 1.5 million medical face masks in the country, 25,000 are being made daily, and if everything goes well, production will rise to 80,000. 24,643 physicians and qualified persons can be deployed for medical service, he added.

He also informed Members of Parliament that there are 70,275 deployable uniformed officers under the age of 65, with an additional 46,573 volunteers, including neighbourhood watch personnel. Regarding the military containment effort, he highlighted that soldiers are taking part in border controls at an elevated level. According to his information, there are 23,950 career soldiers, 9,381 reservists and 10,649 former soldiers who were released from service in the past five years. In total, they can rely on 139,684 persons for law enforcement purposes. If there is a problem, these are the resources at our disposal, the Prime Minister said.

He also highlighted that “the moral command of compassion remains a compass even amidst such difficult circumstances, and we want to make our neighbours our friends. Therefore, they can rely on us also at this time. If we fight together now, later we may become brothers in arms,” Mr Orbán said, adding that they asked for guarantees from the Romanians in that those heading for Romania are being let through the Austrian-Hungarian border at the rate at which passengers arriving from Hungary are being admitted to Romania. So far, the police have implemented this airlock arrangement successfully, the Prime Minister said evaluating the situation.

He further highlighted that the number one mission of the recently adopted economic measures is to contain the slowing down of the economy. These will be followed by others because further measures will be necessary for restarting the economy.

In his address, the Prime Minister outlined the economic measures adopted last week as well as those he announced on Monday morning. Regarding the debt repayment moratorium, he pointed out that banks will not be left without support; the central bank will provide them with the liquidity they will need this year, “the conditions of safe banking operations will be guaranteed”. It will be difficult for financial institutions, too, but in this situation they must also help, he observed.

Mr Orbán said the number one priority in the economy is to protect people’s jobs, and to help those who do lose their jobs to find new ones within the shortest possible time. The situation was similar after 2010 as well. At the time, they managed to resolve the situation, and they will succed this time, too, he said.