Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s statement after a meeting of the prime ministers of the Visegrád Four
4 March 2020, Prague (Praha)

Good morning,

First of all, we are grateful to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš for convening this meeting.  Thank you very much. This was a very good decision, because the virus has now transferred from news reports from exotic countries to the region of the V4 group, and has entered reality in Central Europe.  We knew that this would happen sooner or later, because in the modern world there are not only flows of goods and people, but also viruses. Although as yet there are no confirmed infections in Hungary, we are under no illusions: we cannot lull ourselves into the false impression that Hungary can remain unaffected.  So we are preparing for what has already happened in Poland and the Czech Republic: we too will have to face up to the danger of an actual infection, that the virus will appear where it has so far not been present.

Together here today we have reviewed the dangers and precautionary measures, and we have coordinated our governments’ actions.  I can tell you that we have identified two threats: one to public health, and the other to the economy. Today we dealt with the public health threat.  Prime Minister Babiš was right to say that people are more important than the economy and money, and that we should focus on people and look at the economic consequences of the coronavirus at a later meeting. I am pleased that it is evident that our states can cooperate and help one another not only in good times, in the area of economic cooperation, but that the V4 also maintains its ability to act in bad times, when there is trouble.

As far as my task is concerned, I’ve spoken about the situation in Hungary and what steps we have taken. We have an internationally accredited laboratory, and we are able to confirm an infection within a few hours. We are monitoring border crossing points and we are continuously screening people entering the country. Here there’s a difference in the character of the countries: the Slovaks, the Czechs and the Poles are to the north of us, and so they’re more disciplined in character than we are, than us Hungarians. We have a modicum of southern breeziness.  Now all I can say to Hungarians is that they must not treat this casually, because everything hinges on whether or not we are sufficiently disciplined. I am pleased to see how disciplined the preparations are in the countries of my three fellow prime ministers. We will learn a lot from this, and we will rely on their help if we need it.

Thank you very much.