The Prime Minister stated that the 155-kilometre-long fence system, which was officially inaugurated on Friday, is capable of detaining any mass of people and is practically impenetrable. He added that the pressure of mass population movement threatening Hungary through the Balkans route will continue to be a fact of life.
He also indicated that the European Commission, George Soros and non-governmental organisations have attacked Hungary’s migrant regulations, and they want Hungary to dismantle the fence, change its legislation and let in illegal migrants. He added that on this issue Brussels may well launch infringement proceedings against Hungary.
Mr. Orbán said that Mr. Soros’s migration programme states that every year one million migrants should be transported into the EU, and he would be happy to lend money to finance this. His network is therefore working to pressure Hungary into admitting immigrants and allowing them free passage. “This is what has turned George Soros the financial speculator into George Soros the pro-immigration European politician”, the Prime Minister said.
He also spoke about the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights’ ruling against Hungary in the case of two Bangladeshi migrants. This demonstrates, he said, that a system has been built up through which funds can be regularly siphoned from the Hungarian budget.
He described the case of the Bangladeshi migrants as follows: “An organisation funded by George Soros sued Hungary […] expert opinion in the case was supplied by another Soros organisation, and in the court a group of judges delivered a ruling under the supervision of a judge who is a teacher at a Soros university”. He said that Hungary is encircled, and if things continue like this, “we will be scalped by tens of thousands […] who want to make off with Hungarians’ money”.
This, he observed, is one reason the Hungarian governing parties want to enact a separate legal rule to regulate NGOs engaged in such activities, so that it is known whom they receive their foreign funding from. Otherwise, he said, the country cannot be protected against them.
In relation to Central European University, the Prime Minister said that the affairs of George Soros’s university lack all transparency: “there is legal chaos”; but now the Government wants a fully transparent situation. “We do not understand the need to use loopholes when a wide gate – indeed, a golden gate – is open”, he said.
At the same time he stressed that even the European Commission – which has instituted the infringement procedure – has stated that this matter is not about academic freedom, but about financial issues: the financial conditions under which services may be provided in Hungary. The Government is ready to negotiate, he said, noting that his Cabinet sees Hungary’s higher education legislation as being in harmony with EU regulations, but “should the Commission take a different view, we are prepared to consider the issue”.
He noted that it is certain that the Közép-európai Egyetem [“Central European University” in Hungarian] will be able to continue its operations in Hungary, as the new amendment does not apply to it. The question, he said, is about the other body, which issues US degrees, and “we want to find out what that is in reality”.
Regarding George Soros’s visit to Brussels, Mr. Orbán said that he was shocked by leaders of the EU treating a “financial speculator with such affection, honour and acclaim”. When asked whether any consideration had been given to the idea of his meeting Mr. Soros in Brussels, he said that it had not.
He also said that in Hungary George Soros had become the personification of objectionable actions because he had attacked the Hungarian financial system on two occasions: in 1994 he tried to acquire OTP bank, but Gyula Horn – the Prime Minister of Hungary at the time – stopped him by standing up to his coalition partner the SZDSZ; and he had also speculated against Hungarian financial institutions and the forint when foreign currency loans were common in Hungary.
The Prime Minister stated that George Soros has also attacked several other national currencies, and has always been an opponent of the euro. The euro, Mr. Orbán said, “is the antithesis of casino capitalism”, the latter involving speculation against other people’s money and accumulation of wealth through destroying others.
Speaking about Wednesday’s debate in the European Parliament – in which he also spoke – he said that if Hungary is attacked, the Prime Minister must go to the scene of the attack; the most recent example of this was in the European Parliament, where the country’s interests needed to be protected.
In relation to the legal disputes with the European Commission, he pointed out that while Hungary is negotiating around twenty infringement procedures with the Commission, for Germany the number is more than fifty. He noted that “we are not one of the troublesome or quarrelsome countries”.
The Prime Minister was asked about his telephone conversation the previous evening with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which he congratulated the Turkish head of state on the outcome of the recent referendum on amendment of the Turkish constitution. Mr. Orbán said that the people of Turkey had made a decision in a referendum, the outcome of which must be accepted. “We pursue a policy of common sense”, Mr. Orbán said, adding that it is wrong to “give the Turkish president a big axe and tell him to defend us, but then stick pins in his back because we don’t like the look of him”.
In the interview the Prime Minister described the 2018 budget as a budget for working people. The budget proposal will be presented to Parliament next Tuesday.
Among the main elements of the proposed budget Bill, he mentioned further increases in the minimum wage and minimum wage for skilled workers, increases in family tax allowances for families with two children, and the reduction of VAT on fish, restaurant services and internet services to 5 per cent.
Payroll taxes will also be reduced, and “we shall come close to full employment”, he said, adding that career models which have already been launched will be developed further. He said that it is important that in the future far more will be spent on guaranteeing the security of the Hungarian people.