Budapest, November 14 (MTI) – The issue around the United States’ entry ban is losing its graveness and “the whole thing is becoming more and more chaotic”, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told public Kossuth Radio on Friday.
Referring to a document the government had received from the US embassy in Budapest, Orban said it was but “a scrap of paper” with no stamp or signature, containing an “unstructured collection of accusations we heard from the opposition during the past four years”. The document appears “as if somebody wanted to drag us back into the political situation before the elections”, he added.
“One takes criticism from friends seriously… but now it is becoming more and more difficult,” Orban said, and suggested that dealing with the matter was a waste of time. He also added that “any ambassador presenting a paper like that to a government should be withdrawn from their post the next day”.
Concerning tax authority NAV chief Ildiko Vida, who has been impacted by the US ban, Orban said that even if she tendered her resignation he would “think twice” before accepting it or else it would serve as a precedent for the removal of an official at the accusation of a foreign country without any evidence. That would question Hungary’s sovereignty, Orban said, adding that the prime minister must not leave a single Hungarian unprotected.
Orban said it was his responsibility to “stabilise” operations of the tax authority with its current leadership. He said that those operations must not be disturbed “through resignations or unfounded attacks on NAV” or else “the country’s finances could topple”.
Concerning allegations of VAT fraud cases, Orban said that “it is obvious” that there is such abuse, still, the central budget collects more and more in VAT, which contributes to the country’s fiscal stability.
Answering a question if the entry ban should interpreted in light of the opposition between Russia and the West, Orban said that “though it might sound logical, it is a dangerous assumption”. He said it would suggest “no less than a bigger country launching a slander campaign against individuals of a smaller country to influence its policies”. “That would be such a serious charge against the United States that I would refuse even to consider,” Orban added.
“We are an ally and a friend to the US, and I would not dare to accuse the US of waging a slander campaign against innocent citizens of another country purely for economic reasons,” Orban said in his interview.
Repeating the government’s earlier position, Orban voiced support for the South Stream gas pipeline project and upgrading Hungary’s Paks nuclear plant in cooperation with Russia.
Photo: MTI – Lajos Soos