The government expects to be able to give up its special powers handed to it by parliament at the start of the coronavirus epidemic at the end of May, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told a press conference on Friday.
Speaking at a press conference in Belgrade after talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Orban noted that the special powers enable the Hungarian government to make “weighty and difficult” decisions quickly during the epidemic. The government expects two or three further decisions to be made before then, he said.
Those countries that had handed “the right powers” to their governments had handled the epidemic more effectively, Orban said. After giving up the special powers, “we will give everyone a chance to apologise to Hungary for their unfair accusations,” he said.
Hungary’s performance in protecting the country from the epidemic “is second to none”, Orban said. “We’ve always worked within a democratic framework and will return to the usual routine of parliamentary business after giving up the special powers,” he said.
Hungary will emerge “morally strengthened” from the debates in the European Union, Orban said.
Regarding international cooperation during the pandemic, Orban said it “faltered in the West, went smoothly in the East and strengthened us in central Europe.”
He noted that Hungary had established an “air bridge” with China through which 120 aircraft had delivered enough equipment for Hungary to handle a second wave of the epidemic, which scientists expect to hit in October-November, Orban said.
Orban said he visited Serbia to “provide and receive support”. Both countries have successfully stopped the coronavirus epidemic, he said, and now are starting “the second battle” of restarting the economy, he added.
Trade between Hungary and Serbia reached record volume last year, he said, and freight traffic and commuter traffic is currently flowing across the borders, he said. Orban pledged support for Serbian investments in Hungary, and said the construction of the Budapest-Belgrade rail line had reached a phase of acceleration. “It is obvious that delivering Chinese goods quickly to Europe is one of the key issues of the future,” he said.
Hungary is a committed supporter of Serbia’s efforts to join the European Union, he said, calling on Brussels to open the accession chapters that Serbia is ready to conclude.
“Serbia has regained its esteem and returned to European politics,” Orban said, adding that Serbia was a country “Europe has to reckon with”. Serbia can contribute to stability in the Balkans, he said. “Today, the EU needs Serbia more than Serbia needs the EU,” he said.
Vucic said Hungary and Serbia’s relations were filled with untapped potential. Bilateral ties are “at an all-time high” in all areas, he said. The president said he and Orban had discussed bilateral economic, sports, cultural and diplomatic relations and cooperation. He thanked Orban for Hungary’s investments in Serbia and the Hungarian government’s support for Serbia’s European integration aspirations.
Orban thanks Chinese president
Orban has had telephone talks with China’s President Xi Jinping, his press office informed MTI. Hungary’s prime minister thanked the Chinese leader for his country’s contribution to Hungarian efforts to rein in the coronavirus epidemic, and discussed future economic cooperation. According to Xinhua, Orban also said that his country always firmly adheres to the one-China policy. Xi stressed that China stands ready to work with Hungary and other members of the international community to effectively carry out joint prevention and control efforts and resolutely curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Source: MTI, Xinhua