Further measures to restart life could take place at the end of next week, at the earliest, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Kossuth Radio’s programme ‘Good morning, Hungary’ on Friday.
Regarding the issue of restarting life in Budapest, experts take the view that we must wait for a fall in the number of fatalities caused by coronavirus infection. Until this happens, we must be cautious with reopening measures in the capital, the prime minister indicated. He stressed that he is for restarting life, but professors are calling for caution.
At the same time, he asked political decision-makers and journalists not to believe that they have suddenly become virologists, and not to believe that they now know more about the topic than experts do.
As to whether schools will reopen before the summer break, the prime minister said he is very uncertain regarding this issue, and at this point, he has not observed mass demand for reopening. Should such demand emerge, they will consider the matter, he added.
At the same time, he spoke about the changeover to digital education in words of praise because “it has transpired that it works” and “we have excellent teachers” who have solved this task like nowhere else in Europe, “they have passed the test with flying colours”.
Regarding the procurement of the supplies and equipment necessary for the containment of the coronavirus epidemic, he said his priority was to ensure that no one should be left without care just because there were not enough supplies. He said it is also important that Hungary itself should be able to manufacture the most important supplies, including face masks and ventilators, and once there is a vaccine, also the vaccine.
In the context of the criticisms levelled at the Hungarian legislation on the containment of the coronavirus epidemic, he said “we know that they’re lying, while we’re telling the truth”.
What is behind the battle under way in Europe, the prime minister continued, is “whether there will be an empire in Europe” or nation states will survive. Hungarians do not in the least want to become “absorbed” into any empire, the same as they did not want to in the Ottoman, Habsburg or Soviet empire during their history, he said.
Those, however, who want to build an empire “want to break” nation states into some imperial order, a “United States of Europe”. “We want to be left out of this, and want to stay Hungarian; we want Hungary to remain a Hungarian country,” he stressed.
He added that due to this position, the “empire devotees” will seize every opportunity to weaken the Hungarian government. Additionally, they are attacking things which the overwhelming majority of people in Hungary support, he observed, mentioning as examples the bank levy, the reduction of household utility charges, the issue of migration, and most recently the management of the epidemic. “The debate is not about democracy, it’s about the empire,” Orban stated.
However, when the lives of tens of thousands of people are in danger in Hungary – half the country is fighting to save those lives – and “they kick you from behind,” we must state our view more emphatically and say “hold your horses!” because “unless we do so, they will do it again,” he said, stressing that we must make it clear that they cannot pick fights with Hungarians without consequences. In particular, in times of trouble, “we don’t forget, we will remember, and we will settle our scores”.