PM Orbán: ‘We have defeated the third wave’. Hungary to begin vaccinating 12-15 year-olds

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán welcomed journalists today at the Kormányinfó event, where he announced the start of inoculation of 12-15-year-olds, as well as the upcoming national consultation campaign on rebooting Hungary’s economy, and responded to questions about a wide range of current issues.

“We have defeated the third wave of the pandemic,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said, kicking off his press conference in Budapest earlier today. He added that Hungary is the only place in the world where there are more available vaccines than the number of people who signed up to get vaccinated. This is why, according to the prime minister, getting the shot has become people’s individual responsibility. “Those who did not get vaccinated are now in danger,” PM Orbán said.

Speaking at the press conference, Prime Minister Orbán announced that the government has approved the vaccination of those between 12 and 15 years of age. “All those who do not take up the second dose of the vaccine will lose the advantages provided by the immunity certificate,” PM Orbán said, urging Hungarians to get fully vaccinated.

Thanking everyone who took part in the defense against the coronavirus, including doctors, nurses and public administration workers, the prime minister said that the government decided to give 10 extra days of paid leave to these people.

“We will begin a national consultation campaign about rebooting, stabilizing and strengthening the economy,” PM Orbán said, adding that “finding points of agreement” is the principal goal of the campaign. Listing potential topics, the prime minister said that the government will ask for people’s opinions on increasing the minimum wage to HUF 200,000, tax discounts for small and medium-sized enterprises, the extended moratorium on loan repayments and the possible personal income tax refunds announced yesterday.

About the refunds, PM Orbán said that it is not about “giving away free money,” it is simply giving back what they have paid in 2021. According to the prime minister, it was families with children that were the most severely affected by the pandemic.

Commenting on Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to Hungary, Prime Minister Orbán made it clear that “the Pope is both a head of state and the head of the Church,” and as Pope Francis will not be coming to Hungary for a bilateral meeting, but an international event, it is exclusively up to him who he wants to meet. “For us, Christianity is not a matter of choice; we have been predestined. We would like the Holy Father to sense this. This is our fate, not a world view we picked; it is a cultural context we have been predestined for, one that we must try to accommodate neatly,” PM Orbán said.

Closing with the topic of the EU’s future, PM Orbán said that “Brussels has too much power. For the EU to function properly, we would have to withdraw competencies from it.”