Commenting first on his recent talks with Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orbán said that it is in Hungary’s interest to reduce the international tension surrounding the situation in Ukraine. In such tense moments, Hungary can act as an “icebreaker” between the East and the West, underlining “the Hungarian model” of Hungary being a NATO and EU member while also maintaining successful cooperation with Russia. If we look at economic relations, the attitude is similar in Germany and France, he added.
“For the past 12 years, I have been working to gather friends for Hungary,” the prime minister said. And these efforts have proven fruitful, he added, with the numerous new investments made and factories built, whereas under left-wing governments, profits made by international companies were taken out of the country.
Regarding bilateral ties with Russia, PM Orbán said they are in good shape, and agreements have been reached on most proposals, stressing that Hungarian interests are being represented on the global stage. The most important agreement concerned energy supply because until Hungary achieves energy independence, which we are working towards with the Paks nuclear power plant and solar initiatives, it is essential that we secure our gas supply, he said.
He also mentioned carbon neutrality, saying that “Hungary is already a climate champion.” It is leading the way in terms of emission reductions and has set the goal to reduce the use of fossil fuels to below 10 percent by 2030. In the meantime, however, Hungary still requires Russian gas. The long-term agreement on gas supply, which makes public utility price cuts sustainable, has been extended by 15 years via a transport route avoiding Ukraine, and negotiations are underway to increase the volume as well, he said.
On the subject of vaccine production, Hungary would like to join Sputnik's European production network. By the end of the year, the production of the Sputnik vaccine could be underway at the vaccine factory in Debrecen, PM Orbán said.
Speaking about Brussels, the prime minister noted that its goal is to build a “liberal empire,” taking away as many rights as possible from member states. He added that a good example is the debate over the recovery fund, where Brussels wants to force the issue of LGBTQ propaganda being allowed in schools, tying the distribution of recovery funds to such issues.
The often fake news reports about Hungary have no political significance, he said, because Hungary is still a success story. Orbán cited the exceptional family support system, the minimum wage increase, the 13th month pension, the personal income tax rebate to families, and the personal income tax exemption for those under 25 years old.
Every year, Hungarians have been able to take a step forward, even during the epidemic, the PM said. It is the facts that count, he added, namely economic performance and that “we stand up for our rights” so that Hungarian interests cannot be neglected in common decisions.
Finally, on the management of the epidemic, Prime Minister Orbán said that although the Omicron variant is still here, the epidemic is in remission, and as other countries have not introduced stricter measures, two vaccinations will be sufficient for the immunity certificate until May in Hungary as well.
Photo credit: Facebook/Orbán Viktor