In his regular radio interview, Viktor Orbán spoke about the current coronavirus figures, saying that “we have not been able to diverge from Austria so far. The trend that is valid in Austria is also valid in Hungary.”
The PM added that “the healthcare system is well equipped with beds and ventilators, but the number of doctors and nurses is finite [...] They can take care of everyone, but the quality would be different if the system is overwhelmed. That is why it is very important to follow the rules.”
Speaking about the vaccine, the prime minister said that speeding up the arrival of a vaccine was also on the agenda of the Operational Group this morning. “There is still some debate over how the vaccine will be available. It remains a question if it can only be given out in a hospital, will require a GP permission, or can even be available at pharmacies,” PM Orbán explained. He also pointed out that “healthcare workers will have to be vaccinated first as they are fighting on the front line. The vaccine should not be made a political issue, which is why Hungary has decided to procure vaccines from several places so that Hungarians can decide which one to trust more.” The prime minister confirmed that the vaccination will not be mandatory.
Viktor Orbán said that he believes that with the new restrictions, there is a 99 percent chance that the Hungarian healthcare system will be able to handle the pandemic. Making sure there are doctors and nurses where needed is a challenge, but they are handling this to ensure proper care for everyone. “Students [...] have also been mobilized. 400 students will help transport medics to families for them to take the COVID-19 test,” PM Orbán said, thanking them for their help.
Touching upon the economic measures, the prime minister announced that hotels will be supported by paying 80 percent of the value of their canceled bookings due to the restrictions; the latest measure is a reduction of the VAT on food delivery to 5 percent. “These are short-term assistance [...] Long-term solutions focus on preserving jobs, since as long as there is work, there is everything,” he said. The PM added that “taxes should also be cut because if that doesn’t happen, more jobs will be lost, and I definitely want to keep my promise to create as many jobs as the epidemic has ruined. In 2021, significant tax cuts will be needed.”
Finally talking about the European Union, PM Orbán said that he wrote several letters to the European Commission stating that if they do not deviate from their plans, Poland and Hungary are ready to veto the budget. He emphasized that the Hungarian position has been transparent and stable: Hungarian money could not be taken away. The Hungarian economy needs to continue working, so it needs investments.
“If we adopt this legislation, which was drafted by the EP and the German Presidency, we will turn the European Union into a Soviet Union. This draft seeks to blackmail countries on an ideological basis, and it cannot be appealed,” he said. Orbán recalled that resisting such attempts “used to be called anti-Soviet activity in the communist world,” also reminding listeners that “the basic unit of the Union is the Member States, not the Parliament or the Commission.”
“Now, we should not be talking about this anyway, but talking about fighting the coronavirus epidemic and restarting the economy. In countries where public debt is above 100 percent, it could soon be a problem,” the prime minister concluded.
Photo credit: Origo