Orbán: If you are Hungarian, you have a mission

August 18. 2023. – 09:09 AM



Copied to clipboard

Most Friday mornings, Hungary’s Prime Minister gives an interview on one of the public radio stations. Since the independent media has not had a chance to interview him for several years, these weekly radio interviews are the only opportunity to find out what the leader of the country thinks about current events, how he sees his opponents and any issues at hand.

After a two-week break, the day before the start of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest and the celebrations related to the 20th of August, (a national holiday honoring Hungary's first king, St Stephen) Prime Minister Viktor Orbán visited Kossuth Rádió again. The first questions addressed to the Prime Minister were about the slowdown of inflation to 17.6 percent and the decline in the country's economic performance compared to the same time last year.

Viktor Orbán admitted that the last few months have been difficult for the whole country, but added that the relevant ministries are working hard to reduce inflation. He said that inflation is expected to be 6 percent next year, but that this is still too high, it should be less than that ideally, about 5 percent.

The Prime Minister said that Hungary was in a difficult situation, and even though the Hungarian government is doing all it can to have the sanctions against Russia lifted, the "Brussels bureaucrats" don't want to do so. If the war were to end, the problem would be solved immediately, he said.

He reiterated the need to work for peace, and added that they were sticking to this position, being practically the only ones besides the Vatican to do so.

Peace also requires strength – both mental and military. The Hungarian military industry was downsized in the past, but the essence of the Hungarian army is to have fighters, not "uniformed workers". They must be ready to fight, and in Orbán's opinion, this is the direction the country's military leadership is taking. But the army doesn't stop there. We will never have enough money to buy the latest military technology, "we need our own military industry", the Prime Minister said, who was going to the opening of the new Rheinmetall factory in Zalaegerszeg after the interview. "We have just built a factory where 49 percent of the shares are in Hungarian ownership," he added, noting that more defense-related factories will be opening in the coming weeks and months.

The advantages of the World Athletics Championships

Can the government take advantage of the attention the World Athletics Championships are generating for the country in diplomacy? – he was asked, to which Orbán replied that such events often involve a series of diplomatic meetings for the host country.

The Emir of Qatar will be coming, and this will result in some announcements, the President of Serbia, the President of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan will be here, as well as a Kyrgyz delegation, and many people from the business world, for example from China. "I will have more than a dozen official meetings on the sidelines of the World Athletics Championships," Orbán explained.

They also talked about 20 August. The Prime Minister said that this day was also an opportunity for Hungarians to pay homage to St Stephen. "If you are Hungarian, you have a mission to ensure that this linguistic island, this Hungarian culture, doesn’t disappear from the face of the earth. If you were born Hungarian, it’s not a stroke of luck or bad luck, it’s not like the lottery, you came into the world with a mission," he said, adding that it would be good if Hungarians could sense this on 20 August.

Viktor Orbán avoids critical questions at home. It’s been years since he gave an interview to independent media. However, for several years, most Friday mornings he has been a regular guest on state-owned Kossuth Rádió, where he is interviewed by a lead editor of the public broadcasting service (operating from an annual budget of 320 million euros). Katalin Nagy has been almost exclusively the only person allowed to interview Orbán on the state-owned channel throughout his third and fourth term with a two-thirds majority in parliament. She has received the state decoration of the Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary and doesn’t shy away from asking questions.