In the Christmas interview published on Saturday, the Prime Minister said “we are pro-Hungarian,” and “also in the Russo-Ukrainian war we are on the side of the Hungarians”.
“Our answer to the question of whether we are on the good or bad side of history is that we are on the Hungarian side of history. We support and help Ukraine, we have an interest in the survival of a sovereign Ukraine, and we have an interest in Russia not posing a security threat to Europe. However, we have no interest in surrendering all our economic relations with Russia. These questions we view with Hungarian spectacles, not with someone else’s,” Mr Orbán stated.
The Prime Minister was of the opinion that 2022 had been the most dangerous year since the fall of communism.
“We faced the threat of becoming dragged into the war. No one should have any doubt; had the Left won in April, we would already be in it up to our necks. Hungary is standing outside the war as the only European country because in the spring the Hungarian people voted for this with an overwhelming majority,” he said.
The increase in energy prices, too, has pushed Hungary towards a dangerous situation. The Hungarian economy imports energy, and before the war, before the sanctions we paid seven billion euros for that. This sum is now 17 billion euros, meaning that we had to raise a difference of ten billion euros. This is the equivalent of 4,000 billion forints, and today this enormous amount of money is simply withdrawn from the Hungarian economy, he pointed out.
The Prime Minister said “if right now a Christmas angel decided to abolish the sanctions, within a minute energy prices would fall” as would inflation, and then Hungary would be able to plan a growth for next year as high as five per cent, rather than one and a half per cent.
According to Mr Orbán, the threat of the war lasting for a long time, for as long as decades does exist. At the same time, “Ukraine is only able to carry on fighting as long as the United States supports it with money and weapons,” there will be peace when the Americans want peace, he stressed.
He observed that no one can expect the Ukrainians to surrender a part of their country in the interest of Europe’s peace of mind, energy security and welfare. Ukraine is a sovereign state.
“We have a choice in the extent to which we support them. Hungary has decided that as this war is not our war, bearing in mind the Hungarian national interests, we are providing humanitarian assistance for Ukraine,” the Prime Minister highlighted.
He said that the cabinet has a clear plan for the management of the economic situation. They will reduce inflation to a single digit by the end of next year, he stated.
The Prime Minister described the fact that central bank governor György Matolcsy heavily criticised the state of the Hungarian economy as somewhat unusual. However, this “only means that the governor of the central bank is in a difficult situation”. The law tasks him with the management of inflation, and now inflation is especially high not only in Hungary, but equally in the whole of Europe.
“My situation is not easy either, but that of György Matolcsy is even more difficult. And if at times like this you choose unorthodox behaviour in the public eye, that’s understandable,” Mr Orbán observed.
He said that there will be changes in the housing support system. These will not affect the rural family housing support ‘csok’. The general family housing support will not be affected either in the first half of the year. But there are professional recommendations that seek to make this support system more targeted.
At the same time, the rest of the elements of the family support system will remain in place; in fact, it will be extended. At present, young people do not pay income tax on their earnings up to the age of 25. From now on, women who pledge to have children will be eligible for this benefit until the age of thirty.
Regarding the agreement between Hungary and Brussels, the Prime Minister said “we took a step forward,” “we have an agreement to the effect that we are indeed entitled to the money that is ours”. He took the view that the retention of funds “is a weapon indeed, but rather than a sword, it’s a mere knife,” and “from that you don’t have to run away in panic”.
In the context of the corruption scandal that erupted in the European Parliament (EP), he said “there are situations when they hang the hangman”.
“Brussels bureaucrats feel as if they’re above the law and can get away with anything. If a person as a Member of the European Parliament is on George Soros’s secret list of recipients and they receive money and all kinds of other support in order to condemn countries that cross George Soros’s business interests – such as Hungary – in reports that are based entirely on untruths, that is not so far from suitcases full of cash. This swamp must be drained,” the Prime Minister stated.
He recalled that when the Hungarian Parliament took a position on the pan-European debate about the future of the European Union, they suggested that we abolish the European Parliament in its present form, and instead it should be comprised of deputies delegated by national parliaments. It is time to renew this proposal, he said.
According to Mr Orbán, the root of the problem is that people in the West and Hungarians have their own concepts of the future, and about their own lives in it. And these are two different futures.
“We don’t want to become an immigrant country, we don’t want to let gender activists into our schools, we don’t want to eliminate the normal family framework of life, and we want neither war nor sanctions; we want to maintain our relations with the non-western half of the world as well,” the Prime Minister stressed.
He said the Hungarian Left is for sale, but Hungary is not. In the April elections, there were three billion forints up against three million voters, and the latter won.
“As long as our national and political community is together, there is no amount of money with which anyone can buy Hungary’s independence,” the Prime Minister said.