In the wake of a report that the Open Society Foundations (OSF) are leaving Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, in his regular Friday interview to public broadcaster Kossuth Radio, said “they are crashing out right now”. He also spoke about the restructuring of the new government.
In a statement after Austrian daily Die Presse said that the OSF, funded by US billionaire George Soros, was planning to close its Budapest office and move to Berlin this summer, the OSF released a statement qualifying the report, saying it was “closely watching developments around the draft legislation that would dramatically restrict the activities of civil society in Hungary”. Asked about the Die Presse report, Orban said: “Listeners will perhaps understand if I don’t cry crocodile tears.”
At the same time, Orban said he expected conflicts to continue with Soros organisations, even if the OSF left Hungary. “I know they won’t accept the outcome of the election; they will organise all sorts and they have unlimited financial means,” he said, referring to organisations financed by billionaire George Soros.
Referring to a list of “members of the Soros network” published by the weekly Figyelo last week, Orban said transparency was at the heart of European policy and the press should continue to “help people to know the truth” and uncover “as many networks and cooperation as possible”. If they do not shy away from accepting money from abroad, they should not shy away from admitting to it, he added. Orban said his job was to defend Hungary against speculators.
He also said the most important issue of the next decade would be immigration.
“It is a moral obligation to talk about it, and the message must get into every household a hundred times, and if need be a thousand times.”
Of the UN migration package proposal published earlier in the month, Orban said Hungarians see migration as “a bad thing” to be curbed rather than encouraged. Everyone should be supported in making a living in their own homeland, he said. European civilisation, which is rooted in Christianity, must be protected, he said.
The prime minister said the European Union, which is to vote on migration rules in June, undermined the principles of democracy by attempting to cement decisions on migration policy a year before the EP elections. This, he insisted, would force the hand of the newly elected officials, he said.
Speaking of the results of the April 8 general election, Orban said he was “happy and glad” to know that about 650,000 more had voted for the ruling alliance than in 2014, and 336,000 more than the supporters of all opposition parties combined. Fidesz-KDNP has won everywhere, from the villages to the capital, he said.
Orban pledged to serve all Hungarians. Those who did not vote for Fidesz-KDNP are also members of the Hungarian nation, he said. All are free to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and association, Orban said, referring to demonstrations since the election. He asked the demonstrators to protest peacefully. Regarding those requesting a recount of the votes, Orban said: “This is like winning 4:0 and then the opponent wants a recount. The match is over.”
Orban also said he planned to reorganise the Prime Minister’s Office when the new government is formed. He also said that Mihaly Varga, the economy minister, will stay as head of the economic cabinet.
Orban said he wanted to transform the government’s “brain center” and create a different management structure. “Serious negotiations” are under way and will continue over the weekend, he added. He said he wanted the government to be formed as soon as possible.
Orban said, however, there were no plans to set up new ministries. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said. It’s worth keeping the current system with large ministries headed by high-powered officials, he added.
The new government will have “some of the same people” while keeping the “old targets unchanged”, he said. “The people voted to preserve the government’s targets” not for continuity in terms of personnel, he added.
The prime minister said that, like in past years, parliament should pass next year’s budget before the summer break. He said he had already held talks about this with Varga, whom he described as “an extremely talented and experienced minister”.
Commenting on demographics and family support, Orban said he wanted to sign a comprehensive agreement on the outlook the government can offer to Hungarian women for the next 20-30 years. “Demographics depend on them; it is their decision,” he said. Having children is a highly personal issue but one that is important to the community, he added. The job of the government is to listen and understand women if they want to have children, Orban said.
Commenting on the outcome of the general election, he said voters had underlined their support for the government’s essential targets such as economic growth coupled with fiscal rectitude, full employment, support for families, preserving the value of pensions and guaranteeing security by “not yielding to Europe in immigration policy and maintaining Hungary as a Hungarian country”.
Source and photo: MTI