PM Orbán at Kossuth Radio: We are living in a time of war, we must defend ourselves

In his regular Friday morning interview with Kossuth Radio, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán addressed the recent developments regarding the 2024 budget, the state of the war in Ukraine, and the attacks on Hungary from Brussels.

The prime minister started out by reacting to Brussels’ proposal to abolish the government’s utility price reduction scheme in their review of Hungary’s 2024 budget.

On this, PM Orbán stated that the EU is “asking for austerity” and “Brussels is proposing to essentially destroy the Hungarian economy, people, families, and pensioners,” going against something that he has been “personally fighting for, alongside the entire political community that I lead, for over 13 years.” For this reason, “Hungary must stand up for its interests.”

The prime minister emphasized that “the budget is a national competence,” adding that there is a consensus on this among Hungarians that goes beyond party politics, namely that all proposals that lead towards austerity must be rejected.

Regarding the 2024 budget, PM Orbán expressed that “we are living in a time of war, and we must defend ourselves. So we must protect jobs, the value of pensions, and families. That is why next year's budget will be a budget of defense” that must achieve a “wide range of objectives.”

The prime minister said, “We have a good finance minister, we could not find a more experienced and more committed minister in the whole of Europe, and I feel that the budget is safe with him.”

Addressing the issue of inflation, PM Orbán reiterated that it “will not go down on its own, it must be brought down,” adding that an essential commitment for the government is that inflation must be in the single digits by the end of this year.

According to the prime minister, sanction inflation clearly impacted Hungary’s energy prices and security, as “the war is also being fought on the energy market, not just on the front line.”

PM Orbán highlighted that “Hungary is the fastest-growing country and the one that needs the most energy,” and as a result of this, higher energy prices have had “serious consequences,” making it necessary to bring down inflation.

On this note, the PM drew attention to the fact that if Brussels’ left-wing leadership had not been so adamant in hindering Paks 2, its construction wouldn’t have been delayed. He also said that the economic situation would “suddenly be easier and inflation would fall” if we would choose the path of peace instead of war.

According to Prime Minister Orbán, Western leaders have bought into the idea that Ukraine can win the war with Western money and weapons. "It will be very difficult to get off this war path," he said. In his view, European public opinion is united on this, but divided on what must be done.

PM Orbán said that Hungary being pro-peace means “we are on the right moral and political path." In many Western countries, people will sooner or later replace pro-war governments via elections, as “the vast majority of people are not in favor of the war” in Europe.

The prime minister concluded that “the time is near when European leaders will recognize the truth of the Hungarian pro-peace position.” He warned that before the launch of a Ukrainian counteroffensive, everything must be done to convince the parties that a ceasefire and negotiations are the best option because "otherwise we will lose many lives."