Hungary is taking the terrorism threat seriously
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has confirmed that the Hungarian government is taking the threat of terrorism seriously, and that it has enacted the necessary measures. In an interview given to the public media in Washington on Friday, the Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction that Hungary is regarded as advanced from a nuclear energy point of view, and that its safety system is deemed to be outstanding.
Mr. Orbán, who is leading the Hungarian delegation at the Washington summit on nuclear security, held bilateral talks on Friday morning, meting Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili. He said that Hungarian-Georgian economic cooperation, which had a promising start a few years ago, has slowed down due to the economic difficulties in Russia. Meanwhile the Hungarian Eximbank has opened a credit line for businesses engaged in Georgian-Hungarian relations, and this may serve to once more boost bilateral economic relations. The Prime Minister also said that Hungary supports Georgians’ visa-free travel to the European Union.
Regarding the topics on the agenda of the nuclear security summit, Mr. Orbán said that “The confirmation which we have received here is very important, and this reassures us that nuclear energy will continue to be with us into the next century; the most advanced countries are not downsizing their nuclear capacity, but are in fact seeking to develop it”. The Prime Minister believes it is an outstanding achievement that Hungary is one of the few countries regarded as being advanced in nuclear matters: its training system is deemed to be excellent, and its safety system is considered to be outstanding. He said that many at the conference talked at great length about their planned nuclear developments, and Hungary also has plans – both with France and within the framework of the Visegrád (V4) cooperation. The Prime Minister said that “A precondition of all plans, however, is that we must be able to guarantee safety; and we are not simply talking about technological safety – the requirement that there should be no problem with our power stations – but about the fact that the increased terrorism threat in the world today exposes our nuclear power plants to a higher level of threat than usual”. He added that there must be cooperation in averting these threats, and the techniques and methods of this cooperation were being developed at the conference.
The Prime Minister spoke optimistically about the five-party consultation on the Government’s counter-terrorism action plan. He said that he has a better opinion of political leaders – including the opposition – than the Hungarian public generally has. In his view the threat of terrorism is an issue of the utmost gravity, and the opposition has the wisdom required in this situation. He is therefore hopeful that sooner or later they will succeed in reaching an agreement. “Responsibility demands appropriate and proper conduct from both the Government and the opposition”, Mr. Orbán said.
The Hungarian news agency MTI asked how seriously we should take the fact that a report in The Washington Times says that the terrorist organisation Islamic State has also threatened Hungary. In response to this, the Prime Minister said that it is generally worth taking threats seriously, because not doing so and waiting for a strike means that one is “shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted”. The Hungarian government has responded with appropriate seriousness, the Prime Minister added, saying that resources have been reallocated towards intelligence gathering and counter-terrorism in order to increase security in Hungary to a higher than usual level. “In the last few days law enforcement, secret service and counter-terrorism organisations responsible for Hungary’s security have done everything possible”, he stressed.
In answer to a question from MTI on whether this also means closer cooperation between the Hungarian, European and US agencies, the Prime Minister replied in the affirmative. He added that everyone is talking about close cooperation and is also striving for closer cooperation, but this is a highly sensitive area, and everyone is trying to carefully preserve whatever information they have. “However, everyone appreciates the importance of this, and this gives us a chance to improve the standard of cooperation”, Mr. Orbán told MTI.