Austrian decision is victory for common sense
Responding to the Austrian decision to restrict the number of asylum seekers, Mr. Orbán said that: “dogmatic thinking eventually capitulated to reality and common sense”.
The Prime Minister said that in summary the measure introduced by Vienna is a signal that Europe is unable to take in enormous masses of foreigners in an uncontrolled manner and without restrictions. At the same time he said that the Hungarian position is that the best solution is to not take in a single immigrant.
In answer to a question on a possible change in the route taken by migrants, the Prime Minister said that “the route may change in any direction, but one thing is certain: it will not go through Hungary”. He reiterated that preparations have already been completed for the possible erection of fences on some sections of the Hungarian-Romanian border, and the capacity necessary for the construction of the fences is also available.
Mr. Orbán repeatedly criticised the phenomenon he calls “Brusselism”, which, in his view, is evident when Brussels does not allow nation states to resolve problems, but instead continually refers to common European solutions. Meanwhile, he said, nothing actually happens, as Brussels lacks the capacity to exercise the powers it withdraws from nation states; the result is the weakening of the European Union.
Regarding the Government’s plan to amend the Constitution – allowing for the threat of terrorism to be a separate scenario in the Fundamental Law – the Prime Minister said that in the fight against terrorism, the Government wants Hungary to also have the options which most Western European countries can resort to. To this end, it has sought the support of the opposition; he indicated, however, that “this cause is not yet on the right track”. In his view, opposition criticisms lack a basis in reality. If only a fraction of the allegations coming from the left on the threat of dictatorship were true, “we would be suffocating under tyranny”, he said, pointing out that “Hungary is one of Europe’s freest countries”.
Government to stand up for Poland
In his radio interview the Prime Minister repeatedly expressed support for Poland. He said that the Polish government has not done anything which would warrant criticism from the EU. Brussels is irritated when there are strong nation states which speak their minds, he said. This “provokes Pavlovian responses from European bureaucrats”, he added.
In his view Central Europe is not in any way behind the Western half of the continent in terms of democratic norms. In fact, he said, there are some things which could never occur in Central Europe: “Just imagine what would have happened if the Hungarian government had manged to ensure that for days on end neither the public nor the private sector in the Hungarian media reported the news of a mass atrocity jeopardising people’s security and which was of vital interest to the public – such as the incidents in Cologne. How many days do you think I would have been able to remain in office?”
“The West should be less complacent. There is no moral or factual basis for them calling us to account on the issue of democratic norms”, he said.
The Government is already working on the 2017 budget
Speaking about domestic politics, the Prime Minister said that “while in January the results of the operational Hungarian reforms are only just emerging in our day-to-day lives”, the Cabinet is already working on the 2017 budget, which will be approved in the first half of this year.
Mr. Orbán indicated that the promotion of families will be the top priority in next year’s budget as well, and that the aim is to to achieve a breakthrough by reducing sovereign debt in real terms as well as in relation to the gross domestic product.
He said that the Government will use a sizeable proportion of the economic opportunities which will open up in the next few years to strengthen Hungarian families and help them attain affordable housing.
The Prime Minister described the preferential family housing programme as one which simultaneously boosts economic growth and helps families. In his view, with this programme the paralysed housing market can be revived, while the availability of affordable housing will also be improved. For many people, want of the latter is something which has made starting a family more difficult.
The Government is on the side of taxi drivers
Mr. Orbán also spoke about the taxi drivers’ demonstration held in Budapest in recent days. In this context he confirmed that the Government thinks that the taxi drivers are right. He stressed that there is a need for clear regulations which apply to everyone and which must be observed. There will be changes in this direction over the next few days, he added.
Regarding public transport in the metropolitan agglomeration, the Prime Minister mentioned that there are ongoing disputes involving tens of billions of forints, and who owes what to whom. “Cooperation in this field has not been resolved”, he said, adding that he therefore agrees with Mayor of Budapest István Tarlós, who has said that in difficulties of this nature it is best to make a clean breast of the situation, and everyone should carry out their own duties. The maintenance of public transport within the boundaries of Budapest is the duty of the Metropolitan Council, while the maintenance of public transport between settlements falls to the Government, the Prime Minister pointed out.
He said that if the Government is able to implement economic reforms and conquer the threat of illegal immigration, “we should, no doubt, be able to take care of a few bus services”.