Chief International Anchor for CNN Christiane Amanpour interviewed Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, aiming to get his response to the international reaction to Hungary’s recent epidemic response law, which enhances government powers to tackle the novel coronavirus epidemic.
Szijjártó started out the CNN interview by saying that many “fake news and lies” are being spread about Hungary regarding the new epidemic response law.
His argument was that it is not entirely true that there is no time limit on said law because the parliament has the right to conclude the state of danger. He also argued that three other EU countries, Poland, Malta, and Croatia all have taken similar measures. Szijjártó apparently has had enough with “the double standards” and only Hungary being singled out when other EU members resort to similar measures.
Szijjártó also said that he “cannot imagine a more democratic solution” than this law.
Amanpour responded by saying that the Hungarian parliament has a two-thirds majority of the ruling FIDESZ party and its allies. She asked Szijjártó whether he thinks it is even possible that the parliament will ever go against Prime Minister Orbán. Szijjártó then argued that the parliament is elected by the people.
The Foreign Minister believes that it is not true that the government has the “unlimited and uncontrolled possibility to make decrees” because they can only do that regarding the coronavirus crisis. He said that international media is “portraying this situation as a threat to democracy”, which he finds unfair.
Amanpour asked the minister what measures the Hungarian government aims to take that they could not have done with the help of their majority in parliament and without the emergency law. Unfortunately, she never got an answer to this question.
Amanpour brought up specific examples of responses to Hungary’s new law, including what the Head of the European Commission said (“I am concerned that certain measures go too far, and I am particularly concerned with the situation in Hungary”) and also what U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo said (“There will be bad actors try to use this outbreak of virus for nefarious ends”) regarding this new law.
She wanted to know how Szijjártó responds to these statements. He kept repeating himself, stating that these allegations are not true, and it is “unfair” to say that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s rule by decree is a threat to the country’s democracy.
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