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Nov 08, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán: We need more and more countries as partners in Hungary’s success

In his regular Friday morning radio interview, following a busy eight days packing in three bilateral visits in Budapest, Prime Minister Orbán talked about the main objective behind Hungary’s foreign policy, Turkey’s role in putting an end to migration, and Ukraine and the Hungarians in Transcarpathia before turning to tourism and the common EU budget.

“No country can change its address,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Kossuth Radio’s program Good Morning, Hungary. The PM began by recalling Hungary’s long-standing foreign policy goal: engaging more countries as partners in Hungary’s success.

“We have claimed territory where to the left of us there’s Berlin, Moscow to the right, and Istanbul to the south,” the PM continued, referencing the geopolitical landscape that impacts Hungary. His comments come after a busy period – eight days during which Russia’s President Putin, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid visits to Budapest.

While “all folk have their own security interests,” cooperation is more convenient with Turkey and Germany, as they are both our NATO allies.

“With regard to Russia,” the prime minister said, “we need to make it clear that it’s not beneficial if we participate in operations against each other.”

Commenting on the Hungarian domestic opposition’s attitude towards the Putin and Erdoğan meetings, Orbán said that, without a doubt, they don’t fully grasp the stakes at play here.

“I see no sign of bad will [in their reactions]; it’s more the lack of knowledge,” PM Orbán said, adding that “without Turkey [for example], it’s simply not possible to put an end to the mass influx of immigrants.”

“We can like the Turkish President or not; I suggest we dare being Hungarians,” the prime minister stated.

On the recent situation of Hungary vetoing a joint NATO-Ukraine statement and managing to push for a new text that called for the protection of the rights of Hungarians in Transcarpathia, the Hungarian premier asked, “If we don’t stand up for them, then who will?”

“I trust that the new [Ukrainian] president will not pursue an anti-Hungary policy,” PM Orbán added.

Turning to the next, common EU budget, Prime Minister Orbán said that currently there is a debate in the bloc: Certain countries would like to decrease cohesion payments for poorer countries while maintaining the figures for richer states.

“Contributions are not fair either,” he said, adding that according to the budget framework currently in force, there are countries – Sweden, for example – that pay less into the EU budget than Hungary in terms of percentage of GDP.

The PM expressed hope that the upcoming EU budget could be accepted under the German rotating presidency by the second half of next year. “That budget could be fairer,” he said.

Finishing up with some data on the performance of Hungary’s tourism sector, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán reminded listeners that although the field generates more than 10 percent of GDP, he aims to increase that figure to 16 percent.

“There are more than 400 thousand people working in the tourism and hospitality industry,” PM Orbán concluded, adding that the more we can preserve Hungarian culture and way of thinking, the more visitors will come.

Photo credit: MTI