PM Orbán: Children have absolute and full protection in Hungary

The prime minister called for regulations to ensure that criminals sentenced for crimes against minors should not be eligible for parole “for any reason”.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that children have absolute and full protection in Hungary.

Addressing the opening day of parliament’s spring session on Monday, PM Orbán addressed child protection and asked MPs to support the election of the new head of state and to adopt the parliamentary resolution on Sweden’s NATO accession. Regarding the issue of child protection, the prime minister said: “Anyone who commits a crime against a child must be punished and must serve their punishment without any preferential treatment … and no pardon… Human discretion is not sufficient: laws must ensure that such cases never happen.” PM Orbán called for regulations to ensure that criminals sentenced for crimes against minors should not be eligible for parole “for any reason”. He asked lawmakers “to close that door”, and he also called on law courts to make their rulings in proceedings underway with that in mind. Concerning the child abuse case at an orphanage in Bicske, in western Hungary, Orbán said it raised serious concerns apart from the presidential pardon, which had been granted to one of the defendants. Orbán asked why the director of the home, the primary defendant in the case, “could only be sentenced for a second attempt”, adding that the question must be answered. The prime minister noted he had instructed that all the heads of child protection institutions be screened, adding that “the eligibility criteria must cover [the person’s] lifestyle, sexual deviancies and psychological suitability.” Crimes against children will be “met with strong sentiments” because “everybody thinks about their children, and authorities are rightfully expected to conduct the fullest most comprehensive investigation,” he said.

PM Orbán thanked the outgoing president, Katalin Novák, for her work. He noted her resignation had been triggered by her decision to pardon someone convicted of covering up child abuse, adding that she should have rejected the appeal made for his pardon. “She did not do so, and her resignation was right,” Orbán said. Meanwhile, Orbán said Hungary was a strong and stable country, and the process for appointing the next head of state should be done in such a way as to cause the least possible disruption in the country’s affairs, adding that the election should take place without delay. Orbán thanked the parliamentary groups of the allied ruling Fidesz and Christian Democrat parties for “acting in that spirit” and “showing again that they are worthy of the trust of voters”. He thanked Tamás Sulyok, the current head of the Constitutional Court, for accepting the nomination for Hungary’s next president, and asked lawmakers to support the presidential candidate. Orbán said Sulyok had “vast experience, venerable knowledge and undisputable authority”, adding that the top court’s decisions “showed a clear path” regarding the most important issues over the past years and he had won the consent of the legal profession and the public as well. “I think Hungary now needs such a president,” he said.

The prime minister also asked MPs to support a draft decree on Hungary granting its approval for Sweden’s NATO accession. Hungary’s ties with Scandinavian countries have involved many disputes, and “several external parties have tried to mediate… This has hindered rather than contributed to the resolution of those disputes,” he said. “Hungary is a sovereign country and will not be dictated to … whether in terms of the subject or timing of its decisions,” he said. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s visit to Budapest last Friday “contributed to the fair and respectful relations between the two countries”, he added. “There have been and will be differences in opinion since we Hungarians and Swedes are not alike, but we treat our differences with consideration, as serious nations do,” Orbán said. Orbán said defence-industry cooperation between Sweden and its accession to NATO would strengthen Hungarian security. In addition to extending the existing Gripen contracts, Hungary is also buying four new JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets, which will give the country the capability to carry out NATO operations outside its airspace, he said.

Meanwhile, PM Orbán called for an immediate ceasefire and peace talks with Russia to conclude the war in Ukraine. “We Hungarians have said from the beginning that there is no military solution to this conflict; the war should be ended rather than deepened and broadened,” Orbán said. He said Hungary provided care for Ukraine’s wounded and war-disabled, helped with restoring the country’s electricity grid and was carrying out the biggest humanitarian operation in its history. Orbán also said the government had taken important decisions since parliament’s autumn session regarding the expansion of the CSOK home purchase subsidy, wage hikes and green energy production and storage.