Budapest, February 24 (MTI) – International organisations “posing as civil groups” in Hungary need to be made accountable, the prime minister said on Friday, arguing that they served the interests of global capital. The campaign to collect signatures for a planned referendum on whether Budapest should host the 2024 summer Olympics ended up “murdering a dream”, Orbán said.
International orgs ‘serving global capital’ must be made
“For the past twenty plus years, we have tolerated the presence of these organisations, but when it came to the issue of migration, their behaviour was too much,” Viktor Orbán said in his weekly interview with public Kossuth Radio.
“Hungary cannot allow itself to have organisations that remain shrouded in secrecy … continuously encouraging migrants to violate Hungarian laws and somehow cross into the country,” the prime minister insisted.
By doing this, organisations “primarily linked to [Hungarian-born American financier] George Soros” serving global capital “crossed a line”, Orbán added.
Orbán also criticised the European Union’s planned “systematic border control” border control regime, describing it as “madness”. While illegal migrants are being let into the EU, law-abiding passport-holding Europeans are subjected to strict checks, he argued, saying that it was crucial to get Brussels to change its mind on the plan.
He said the regime would result in travellers having to wait 8-10 hours on the Croatian-Hungarian and Romanian-Hungarian borders in the summertime.
On the topic of Hungary’s utility price cuts, the prime minister repeated his stance that Hungary must be allowed to retain its right to set energy prices over Brussels. He said “Brussels bureaucrats” were constantly looking for ways to take over more and more powers from EU member states.
The EU “is not an empire of heavenly peace, but rather a battleground where we constantly have to fight the bureaucrats so that they can’t take away powers from Hungary”, he said.
On the subject of Brexit, he said Hungary had no desire to “punish” Britain for its decision to quit the EU. He said the UK was “grounded in common sense”, adding that the EU should not be on bad terms with that country after it leaves the bloc.
Orbán also talked about the EU’s plan to raise taxation policymaking to the level of the bloc. He said that unlike western Europe, central Europe was competitive, which was why he said many western companies viewed this region as a better place to set up factories than at home, partly because of favourable tax regulations. He said western and central Europe were in a race for investments, which should not be banned. Orbán said Hungary was prepared to veto EU legislation on tax regulation if necessary.
He said the free flow of labour and capital were tied together in the EU. What is impermissible is that Austria wants its capital to flow into Hungary while it does not want Hungary labour. If Austria wants to punish Hungary, “we will sanction Austrian capital”, he said.
He also condemned an Austrian plan that envisages Hungarian tax-paying employees only being allowed family benefits if the child is actually present in the country.
“They are sneakily trying to make changes to the small print of regulations, and when they have changed ten small regulations, then suddenly the whole issue changes.” This kind of stealing of powers by stealth and changes to the European founding treaty is something Hungary will not tolerate, the prime minister said, adding that changes to the treaty should not be done “sneakily” but through open negotiation.
Orbán said the reason why the EU was suffering from crises today was because it had failed to uphold rules. Germany and France, which overshot their deficit requirements, have been let off the hook, he said. Greece has been allowed to break financial rules. Then Greece and Italy were permitted to overlook Schengen rules before the Germans themselves overrode these regulations, he added.
In respect of Hungary’s measures to protect jobs, Orbán said attempts were being made to limit such possibilities too, and attacks were gathering force. He said there would always be cases of people finding it impossible to secure a job on the open market and this is why there would always be a need for fostered job schemes which should be limited to those who genuinely cannot find work otherwise.
Olympic ‘dream murdered’ by referendum drive
The decision to abandon the bid was motivated by a desire to save Hungary from shame, the prime minister told public radio on Friday.
Winning an Olympic bid requires unity, this is why there were no referendums held in Paris and Los Angeles, the other cities bidding to host the games, he said.
The decision was to save Budapest the embarrassment of the bid being “absolutely trashed” on the vote, which would have been inevitable after a plebiscite, he said.
New political player Momentum is the “new SZDSZ”, Orbán said, citing the former Liberal coalition partner of the Socialist governments of 1994-1998 and 2002-2008. We can count on a “new MSZP-SZDSZ coalition”, he said.