“Last year’s Christmas was almost the way one imagines it,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview to public broadcaster Kossuth Rádió, with families coming together, albeit “under the shadow of the pandemic”. He praised Hungary’s “fantastic hospital capacities, especially in terms of human resources”. Currently, 2,611 Covid-19 patients are hospitalised and 243 are intubated on ventilators, with over 10,000 beds available, he said.
Regarding current economic issues, Orbán said the inflation plaguing Europe was “pushing the economy off track”. Hungary’s government is working to soften the blow by raising wages and pensions and by capping prices where possible, he said. Besides cutting utility fees, the government has capped fuel prices, he noted. This week, it capped the prices of basic food at the level of October prices and will take steps to ensure those products are available in shops, he said. By the time this measure runs out in 90 days, European inflation will hopefully also subside, he said. At the same time, the next steps from Brussels are unpredictable as “they are ruled by dogmatic market ideologies rather than common sense,” he said. “While I accept many of those dogmas, they cannot be used exclusively,” Orbán said.
Besides the rules of the market, the government must also take into account “considerations of the entire population and society,” Orbán said. The prime minister said that in critical situations the main question was “to what extent is it good to interfere in the operation of the economy”. “The cabinet has at its disposal methods to raise wages and pensions and keep control over price increases,” he said, adding that he was prepared to defend such measures in Brussels.
Meanwhile, he said the security of Hungarian families was a government priority. “Attacks from Brussels connected with measures affecting families will be forthcoming, but these can be thwarted partly by relying on European regulations that also guarantee our rights and partly because Hungarians have proved in the past ten-plus years that we are not timid and we will protect our interests,” Orbán said. Hungary is a free country where adults can choose their way of life, but parents’ rights must be respected when it comes to how they want to raise their children in such sensitive areas as sexuality, he said. Germany is a civilised country, yet a paedophile network of several hundred members was recently uncovered there, Orbán said. “Hungarian laws handle such issues well,” he added.