Speaking on Kossuth Radio's “Good Morning, Hungary!” program this Friday, Prime Minister Orbán said he anticipates that 2024 will be a year bustling with diplomatic activity, as he outlined the preparations for Hungary's presidency of the Council of the European Union, starting from July 1 until the end of the year. "We have commenced the preparations for this long march. The presidency of the EU Council requires intense diplomatic work," the prime minister said.
Highlighting significant recent diplomatic engagements, PM Orbán reflected on Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico’s visit to Budapest on Tuesday, marking their 33rd bilateral meeting. The prime minister expressed satisfaction over Fico's return, saying, "It's always easier to work with an old warhorse than a new partner. However, the new partnership with Romania's prime minister also presents significant opportunities to enhance bilateral relations."
Regarding the Vietnamese prime minister's visit yesterday, PM Orbán emphasized the rise of Asian countries, urging the West to realize that it no longer solely dictates economic rules.
The prime minister also underscored the significance of the national consultation, asserting, "It proves we remain a strong country, a strong nation. And this message will be heard in Brussels." He pointed out the deep-rooted sense of national cohesion in Hungary, stating, "Our sense of belonging and deep national thoughts are very strong, as demonstrated by the national consultation, completed by over one and a half million people who deem it crucial for our country," he said.
Addressing the contentious issues with the European Union, PM Orbán dismissed the concerns Brussels says serve as justification for the continued freeze on EU funds. "Their allegations are nonsensical, mere blabber. (...) We cannot concede on migration, gender, and the war. These issues are more significant, more valuable parts of life than money," the prime minister asserted.
"No amount of money can make us accept migrants or allow our country to be taken away from us," he continued, emphasizing that Hungary would not tolerate conditions observed in some Western European countries, including increased terror threats, higher crime rates, and the emergence of parallel societies. The prime minister also reasserted opposition to any influence of LGBTQ groups over Hungarian children and grandchildren: "This is inconceivable. The upbringing of children, especially their sexual education, belongs to families and parents, not schools."
Regarding the upcoming European parliamentary elections, PM Orbán stressed the need for transparency and candor. "We need to lay our cards on the table and state our intentions clearly. These elections will revolve around migration, our families, and the war," he said.
Reflecting on the past year, the prime minister described 2023 as challenging, marked by the war, soaring energy prices, and high inflation. However, he conveyed optimism for 2024. "Last year was tough, but we've managed to overcome it. We've not sought individual escape routes but solved these issues together, strengthening our capacity to perform better in the global economic arena and elevating our quality of life. This is essential, as the 20th century wasn't exactly replete with Hungarian triumphs."
Finally, Prime Minister Orbán spoke about Hungary's resilience and economic stability, even in the absence of EU funds. "The Hungarian people proved in 2023 that our economy can withstand crises without EU funds. We managed both the post-COVID era and the surge in energy prices. Despite the lack of EU support, we reduced inflation from 25 percent to around 6 percent, and in 2024, we are poised for substantial economic growth, with forecasts placing us at the forefront in Europe," the prime minister concluded.