If Hungary does not allow the coronavirus epidemic to start spreading again, if “we keep our wits about us in the protection of the borders,” if we support investments and job creation, and if we do not allow the West to take us “for a fool,” then we can come out of the crisis even stronger, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Kossuth Radio’s programme ‘Good morning, Hungary’ on Friday.
He said Hungary won the battle against the first wave of the epidemic, but “this is only a partial victory,” “we did not win the war, we only won a battle”. As the world around us has an impact on Hungary, we must decide well and wisely about where we are going on holiday for instance; we must seriously consider whether we should go on holiday abroad. “At this time, it is perhaps better to choose Lake Balaton,” he stressed.
Orban confirmed that the government will resist pressure from Brussels to let people in from ever further countries without controls. Therefore, for the time being, Hungary is not letting anyone in from non-EU countries, not including Serbia, without controls, while transit travellers are only allowed to pass through the country via designated corridors.
We must also ensure that the intensification of migration should not jeopardise the Hungarian health care situation, the prime minister added, observing that in the states lying along the traditional migrant routes the number of infections is rising, meaning that at this time the protection of borders is also a health protection measure, and this is one of the reasons why border protection has been strengthened. He added that the activity of people smugglers had intensified as well.
“We need our police officers, our soldiers […]. What we are observing in Western Europe and in the United States – that society and politics are betraying their own police officers – is unacceptable in Central Europe,” he stated.
Orban also spoke about the transit zones, highlighting that the Court of Justice of the European Union declared stay in the transit zones to constitute detention. In response to this, the Hungarian government closed them down, and made the protection of the borders even more stringent. “If we want Hungary to continue to remain a peaceful, safe and secure place, then we must take action against migration with maximum severity,” he said.
Commenting on the EU “recovery” fund planned to be set up due to the epidemic, he said “it is, in actual fact, a form of aid provided by us for the Southern countries”. The countries of Central Europe which are in much better shape financially must consider whether they want to help countries which did not suffer under many years of communism, which joined the EU earlier and which are richer than themselves, he said, stating that “we are ready” to help the Southern states in trouble, but in return for helping them he asked for fair treatment because “we don’t want to be taken for fools”.
He took the view that Central Europe has every reason to be proud, in the fight against the epidemic it was more effective than countries of the West, and its economies are competitive; “there is only one problem, that we are poorer,” but this is “the communists’ fault”.
He also pointed out that today Germany is the richest country in the EU, the country which was bombed “back to the Middle Ages,” while Central Europe which was “thrown to the Soviet Union” is making good progress. There is a paradigm shift on an historic scale: Germany and Central Europe are expected to pull the continent out of the trouble it is in, he stressed.