Budapest, December 2 (MTI) – The Hungarian government will not allow Brussels to interfere with the decision-making of the authorities over energy prices, the prime minister said in an interview to public radio on Friday.
Viktor Orbán said that if the right of authorities to determine energy prices were to be taken away then the government’s scheme to keep utility bills low would be compromised.
He insisted that competition in the energy sector did not lead to lower prices due to “all sorts of backroom deals”, and prices would rise instead.
The government will defend low utility bills, and while the struggle will be hard “we have every chance of success,” Orbán said.
Orbán said Hungary’s unemployment rate, below 5 percent, goes to show that people who are willing to work can work. He added, however, that the state of the country’s labour market is still not ideal due to regional inequalities and that employees do not always get the jobs they want. “But at least we can say that everyone has access to some kind of a job.” Orbán said that “even in the worst-case scenario”, people at least have access to jobs within the fostered work scheme.
He said the logic behind the government’s recent economic policy decisions was that every employer willing to raise wages would be given tax breaks.
The state of the Hungarian economy is now better than at any time since 1990, he said. “It’s not that we’ve arrived; we’re on the road [in the right] direction towards success.”
Orbán said Hungary was now “on the winning team” of countries, which he said had not been the case for a long time.
“Slowly but surely, Hungary is going from being a black sheep to becoming a success story,” the prime minister insisted.
Commenting on German projections that see that country’s economy slowing down until 2018, Orbán said the world was “more than just Germany”, noting his government’s eastern and southern opening policies.
Govts that fail to grasp opposition to migration destined to fall
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday that he expects governments that fail to understand that people are opposed to migration would eventually be ousted.
“This is only a matter of time … but we have to hold out until democracy is restored,” the prime minister told public Kossuth Radio.
“Democracy in Europe has been upset. There is no democratic balance because the people are not on board with what their leaders want to force onto them.”
But Orbán said that based on the rules of democracy, “even those who have not applied this democratic attitude from the start” would come to realise that they would either have to “become democrats” or fail. “This is what is happening in Europe today, step by step. In fact, this is also what has happened in the United States,” he said , referring to the election of Donald Trump.
“We must hold out until we [who oppose migration] are in the majority,” Orbán insisted.
Orbán welcomed the Constitutional Court’s Wednesday decision declaring that it can review EU measures to assess whether they violate Hungary’s sovereignty or harm its constitutional identity. Orbán said the court’s ruling would be of “huge help” to him in his “battle with Brussels” on migration.
“We can now finally forget that the opposition had chosen to side with Brussels … because now we’ve managed to bypass them,” he said.
The Constitutional Court made it clear that based on the constitution, the government has a right and obligation to protect the country’s national and constitutional identity and basic interests, Orbán said. This means that the cabinet cannot support any EU decision that violates Hungary’s sovereignty. “Nobody but we can decide whom we should live together with,” the prime minister said. Orbán said the top court’s decision was “good news” for those who did not want Hungary to be “occupied”.
Regarding the EU summit on migration to be held later this month, Orbán said “the match is tied”. He described the balance of power between the opposing sides as that between “David and Goliath” in which he said the Visegrad Four grouping of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia was in the role of David. “But the EU’s decision-making process is designed in a way that the prime ministers have to reach a consensus when it comes to important decisions, so even David has a chance,” he added.
Asked to comment on the situation in Turkey, Orbán said the country had a “good chance” of preserving its stability. He said this was vital from Europe’s perspective, arguing that an unstable Turkey would have serious negative effects on Europe.