During his regular interview slot on Kossuth Radio this morning, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that while we have won the first battle and stopped the first big wave of the coronavirus pandemic, “we cannot slay the enemy” without a vaccine. Hungary is safe, the danger now lies in importing the disease from abroad, the PM said, adding that there is a “foreign element” in the case of new infections.
“The Operational Group has until noon to submit a proposal to stop the import of the disease,” PM Orbán said and signaled that based on the proposal the government will be able to make a decision later today or tomorrow. “More Balaton, less Adriatic Sea – this should be our motto for this summer,” the prime minister said.
When asked about next week’s European Union summit on the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the EU recovery fund, PM Orbán said that due to COVID-19 several richer, but more vulnerable countries will have to be helped. He cited Portugal, Spain, and France as examples.
“We are speaking about 750 billion euros here, enormous amount of money has to be injected into the economy in order to restart growth,” PM Orbán said, adding that there wouldn’t be a single problem if we had all this money, but we don’t. Therefore, he explained, the “big ones” decided that we should take up a loan.
For the Hungarian people, however, “loan has always been one of the most frightening words,” the PM said. “Should we take up this loan, we will make sure that the burden is distributed in a fair way.”
Addressing the results of measures introduced to protect the economy, the prime minister said that the government has saved more than one million jobs so far and created 80,000 new ones. “Before the pandemic, there were 4.5 million Hungarians at work,” PM Orbán said and added that the declining trend finally turned around last week, with more people finding jobs than those losing them.
Towards the end of the interview, PM Orbán spoke about Wednesday’s “Europe Uncensored” online conference, attended by the Slovenian Prime Minister, the Serbian President and French philosopher and MEP François-Xavier Bellamy. “30 years ago, the EU’s current member states have produced 25 percent of the global GDP, today it’s 15 percent,” PM Orbán said, highlighting the importance of an honest dialogue about the future of Europe. Meanwhile, defense expenditure has fallen from 2-2.5 percent to well below 2 percent and we are no longer able to resolve the problems of the region where migration is coming from.
According to the prime minister, the history of Central Europe has been defined by the German-Russian competition for ruling the region. “It’s about time that instead of other powers trying to force their will on us, we finally organize our own system of cooperation in the region,” the PM said and concluded that, in this regard, “the alliance with Slovenia and Serbia is building up nicely.”