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Jun 19, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán: We are prepared for a second wave of the epidemic

“If the epidemic does return,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in his first interview since lifting the state of emergency, “we will not hesitate to take the necessary legal and economic steps in order to save people’s lives.”

The prime minister began his radio interview this morning citing his recent conversation with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša in which the Slovenian PM said that entry into Slovenia and compulsory home quarantine had been restored for at least three Balkan countries. “And this is an important warning,” PM Orbán said because it’s a reminder that the epidemic is not yet over. “It must be taken into consideration.”

“Despite all of this,” he continued, “it must be considered a great achievement to have saved the lives of tens of thousands of people in Hungary, and in the meantime, we must keep in mind that the reason for this success was discipline and cooperation.”

The prime minister also noted that the Hungarian healthcare system performed better than those in Western Europe. “We can celebrate now, but since there is no vaccine, we should be prepared in case the epidemic returns,” he said, adding that “if the epidemic does return, we will not hesitate to take the necessary legal and economic steps in order to save people’s lives.” The epidemiological preparedness currently in force means “that the powers of the chief medical officer are strengthened, the necessary protective equipment is available, and the warehouses are full.”

Touching upon the international situation, Viktor Orbán said that “people in the West are dying because they cannot provide healthcare for them. Three of Europe's four largest economies need to be saved, the GDP of several western European economies will fall by more than 10 percent this year, and their debt is rising above 120 percent [of GDP]. And these countries want to tell us how to govern a country.”

“Liberal imperialism reigns in western Europe, and they are trying to force their worldview on countries that think differently. American Democrats and often international courts are also involved in this,” PM Orbán said, referring to the ruling of the European Court of Justice against Hungary regarding the law intended to increase the transparency of Hungarian NGOs. “There is an organizing power in the background; it is easy to find its connection to the Soros network, which is the headquarters of everything.”

In connection with the ECJ decision, the prime minister also added that while the ECJ ruled against Hungary, “in Luxembourg, it has been said that the transparency of NGOs is important and must be upheld. Transparency is a value that a government rightly sets as a goal, and the Hungarian people decided well when they supported it in the national consultation.”

The PM added that “those who participate in political life and want to influence thinking need equal transparency for those organizations. There can be no stricter rule for political parties than for organizations that influence political thinking; you need to know exactly who is investing, where they are investing, and how much money they are putting into organizations and politics.”

Finally, on the topic of joint European borrowing, PM Orbán pointed out that “in several western countries, an economic decline of more than 10 percent may come, huge public debts are being created, and, over time, loans will become expensive. Countries in trouble say we urgently need to take out a joint loan.”

“However, the mindset of the Hungarian people is different. We only want to spend what we have already earned,” the prime minister said. “Many European countries are now in such a disgraceful situation that joint borrowing cannot be avoided. If we spend it badly, we have failed, and if we spend it well, it is an opportunity,” he said.