Prime minister Viktor Orbán – Photo: PMO

Vaccination only protection against virus, PM says

Orbán: Law against pedophiles is not homophobe

Vaccination is the only way to get protection against the coronavirus and those who don't get vaccinated can potentially become infected, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday. Hungary has a six to eight-week advantage in terms of vaccinations compared to all other European Union countries "because we acquired vaccines earlier and started vaccination sooner", Orbán told public radio Kossuth.

“We are also among the first ones to relaunch life,” he added. Orbán said he was still very concerned about the three million Hungarians who refused to get vaccinated. “The virus will find those who are not vaccinated, which means we have potentially three million infections,” he added. The prime minister asked everyone to register and get vaccinated.

Orbán said that, in line with current knowledge, vaccinated persons are protected against all variants of the virus discovered so far and there is no potential variant on the horizon that existing vaccinations are not good for.

Citing the example of the UK where the number of infections is on the increase despite the high rate of vaccinations, the prime minister asked everyone to accept that “vaccination is the only way to get protection against the coronavirus”.

Commenting on reports claiming that Hungary’s law against pedophiles approved this Tuesday was homophobe, Orbán said first of all, it would be worth for gay people to read the text of the law. They will realise that it does not apply to those above 18, he said, adding that the law was dedicated to the “protection of our children”.

The starting point of the law is that the sexual education of children is exclusively the job of parents and no institution can take that right away, Orbán said.

The law states that parents must be guaranteed the right to decide on the sexual education of their children and very clear limits must be set for sexual education at school, he said. Children must be protected from access to information on any platform that would be contrary to the educational ideas of parents, he added.

In response to a question, Orbán said he did not expect Brussels to find any aspect of the law that could justify launching an infringement procedure in this matter.

Commenting on a European Union initiative to introduce a minimum corporate tax rate, he said “it is in the national interest of Hungary not to accept externally imposed tax regulations”. Orbán said the “starting point” for the country’s economic success was a tax system that makes Hungary competitive.

“Tax increases are toxic for the Hungarian economic system,” he added.

“Now is not the time to set aside reserves, now is the time for recovery,” he said.

Orbán said the time is right to continue the gradual reintroduction of an annual pensioners’ bonus, to roll out a personal income tax exemption for Hungarians under 25, to give families raising children a growth-linked tax rebate, and to agree with businesses on conditions for raising the monthly minimum wage to 200,000 forints, once economic growth reaches 5.5 percent.

He pointed out that the 2022 budget targets a modest decline in year-end state debt, relative to GDP, but said the timing is not right to “radically” reduce that indicator.

Concerning migration, Orbán said the issue would feature on the agenda of next week’s EU summit to address growing migratory pressure and the re-emergence of a plan to distribute among the member states illegal migrants who have been allowed entry by southern members.

Hungary continues to be a “steadfast opponent” of the plan as it considers illegal migration a harmful phenomenon, Orbán said.

The prime minister said Hungary has four defensive lines against migration: the first one in the east in Afghanistan, the second in Mali, Turkey and along the Mediterranean coast, the third along Serbia’s southern border, and the fourth along the Serbian-Hungarian border.

Hungary’s participation in NATO’s Afghanistan mission was also motivated by a quest to defend its interests, Orbán said. He added that Hungary is examining the ways of involvement in the Mali mission.

“Our presence in remote spots of the world is not a kind of adventuring or unwarrantable interference but an understandable effort to protect our national interests from the point of view of migration,” he said.

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