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Jul 31, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán: Our defense against the coronavirus is currently well-tuned, any change would only bring new risks

Prime Minister Orbán said in his regular interview on Kossuth Rádió that while the crisis keeps growing in neighboring countries, Hungary’s defense has proven to be effective. Besides the coronavirus, the PM touched upon the state of Hungary’s economy and spoke briefly about incoming EU funds.

“It’s a top priority that we should not give up our planned, cold-blooded and reliable defense [against the coronavirus],” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said this morning on Hungary’s public Kossuth Rádió. We should not let the summer and the Balaton make us forget that the virus is still among us, he added.

Speaking about the government’s view on the coronavirus situation in Hungary, the PM said that our defense is currently well-tuned and that changes to it would only give rise to new risks. At the same time, while the crisis keeps growing in neighboring countries, Hungary’s defense has proven to be effective.

“Today, we are in a much better situation than we were during the first wave of the pandemic,” PM Orbán said, adding that “today, we have everything in Hungary that is needed for the defense.” But, according to the prime minister, it wasn’t simply the country that performed well under pressure, it was our healthcare system, in particular, that did exceptionally well.

When the crisis hit, PM Orbán recalled, we had to source the necessary gear from abroad to counter the pandemic. Today, in contrast, we manufacture the required equipment. “We have enough ventilators, we manufacture them. We have enough masks, and we will produce as many as we need,” the prime minister said, highlighting that “currently we are in a much safer situation than we were back then.” This is why we must stick to the regulations. Changing the rules now would only lead to new risks, the PM said.

Every morning, right after he wakes up, PM Orbán said, he checks if any Hungarians have died of the coronavirus or if there were any new infections. “Elderly people, our parents and grandparents, are still at the highest risk,” the prime minister said, asking citizens to pay attention to them and care about them so that they will be alright.

“I don’t want to see people die in Hungary who could have otherwise been saved,” PM Orbán said and reiterated that no changes can be expected in regard to current coronavirus protection measures, as Hungary’s defense is now “well-tuned.”

Addressing the state of the economy, the prime minister said that this July, there are more Hungarians employed than in January, before the coronavirus crisis. “The government made a huge commitment when we said that we will create as many jobs as the pandemic destroys,” a commitment that is, by the way, unmatched in Europe. Now, we are only a few weeks away from accomplishing that goal.

On the government’s further economic plans, the prime minister said that he is continuously in touch with National Bank Governor György Matolcsy, who coined the phrase that “we must overtake at the curve,” meaning that Hungary should not be content with keeping up with other European countries but must try to use the crisis to our advantage and adopt measures that will give us a head start.

“I would prefer it if Hungarians stopped thinking about EU funds as something we get from someone richer, more powerful than us. Because the situation is this: With 40 years of communism behind us, we have joined more fortunate countries and we allow them to bring their products here without protective tariffs, we allow them to invest and force us into competition even though we start at a disadvantage,” PM Orbán said about the EU funds.

According to the prime minister, painting EU funds as money that is “tossed in front of poor Central Europeans” is both humiliating and distant from reality.