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Oct 25, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán: “It’s in our fundamental interest to avoid another Röszke”

In his regular, Friday morning interview on Kossuth Rádió, Prime Minister Orbán tackled an array of pressing topics, including the ongoing Turkish-Syrian conflict, the local elections and the government’s current mandate, the ‘Borkai scandal’, the family and economy protection action plans, and even Brexit.

“From the elections we have learned that 52-53 percent of Hungarians indirectly voted for the governing parties,” Prime Minister Orbán said, adding that this is an expression of support for the government’s work so that it can keep heading in the same direction, towards the same goals.

The PM further commented that he regretted that some settlements decided to elect mayors other than the Fidesz-KDNP candidates. At the same time, however, when it comes to elections it’s always good to assess whether the government still has enough popular support to back its policies, he said.

Speaking about the migration-related effects of the ongoing Turkish-Syrian conflict, PM Orbán warned that from Turkey, migrants can either go back home to Syria or march on to Europe. “Should the Turks open the gates towards Europe, migrants will be arriving in Greece by the hundreds of thousands. And from there they’ll go to the Hungarian or the Croatian border,” PM Orbán said.

“It’s in our fundamental interest to avoid another Röszke,” the prime minister stated, referring to the so-called “Battle of Röszke” in 2015 when hundreds of migrants violently stormed through a border crossing on Hungary’s – and Schengen Europe’s – southern border.

Talking at length about the government’s family and economy protection action plans, Prime Minister Orbán said that out of the two, he finds the economic plan “more exciting.” The reason for this, he continued, is that the measures taken for families have already reached several tens of thousands of Hungarians, and the number of recipients of CSOK support – assistance for home ownership – has climbed to over 110 thousand.

The PM noted that carrying out the economic protection action plan is generally “more difficult,” as “we are not alone on the pitch,” a reference to other factors that impact the economy. The task now is to ensure that Hungary has policies in place that will allow the country to maintain its high economic standards even at times when European economic factors might lead to slower growth.

“This means,” the PM added, “that we definitely need to maintain a Hungarian economic growth rate that is at least 2 percent higher than the EU average.”

“I recommend to people on the right that we don’t lower our standards; we are a serious country,” the prime minister said, sharing his views about the so-called “Borkai scandal,” a series of events revolving around Zsolt Borkai, the mayor of Győr, that included the leaking of explicit tapes captured on a yacht in Croatia. PM Orbán added that it is “shamefully depressing” that people are talking about what’s happening in the private lives of certain politicians.

“It would be best if we could get over this as quickly as possible,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in regard to the scandal.

On Brexit, Prime Minister Orbán said that “the people of the island have made a decision, and we need to acknowledge that decision.” He identified Brexit as “a product of the Juncker era,” which had two main failures: They couldn’t keep the Brits in, while they let migrants in. According to the PM, there is an agreement between the British government and the EU that protects the interests of Hungarians living in the UK.

The effects of Brexit cannot yet be assessed, Orbán said. But the prime minister noted that there are 750 British firms operating in Hungary, employing 60 thousand Hungarians.