Prime minister Viktor Orbán – Photo: PMO

Orbán: ‘No future without children’

If Fidesz wins the April 3 general election, the government will expand family support schemes and, depending on economic performance, even increase financial support, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview to public radio on Friday. Orbán told Kossuth Radio that it was his personal goal to ensure that the financial circumstances of people raising children should improve, adding: "There's no future without children".

“We want our own children, not foreign children, to inherit this country,” the prime minister said. “With children, there’s a future, but without there’s no future for the family or for the country.”

Hungary spends more on family support than any other European country, he said, indicating that nowhere else do governments attach so much importance to children and families.

The aim, he added, was to create the right conditions so that families bear the responsibility of having children. “We don’t want to become an immigrant country.”

Meanwhile, Orbán said he would negotiate at next week’s Hungary-Russia summit to increase gas supplies as part of Hungary’s long-term contract with Russia.

The prime minister said that as energy prices soar, Hungary wants to fortify its energy security by increasing the amount of gas delivered under the Hungary-Russia contract concluded last September.

Put to him the opposition’s suggestion that “Putin ordered the Hungarian Prime Minister to visit Moscow”, Orbán said the Hungarian public “very well knows we cannot be ordered anywhere”.

“Hungary is a sovereign country; its government and leaders are acting in a sovereign manner,” he added.

He said Hungary’s government prioritised national interests in foreign relations.

Orbán said it was “inevitable” that, besides economic matters, European security issues would be on the summit’s agenda. “Hungary’s stance is clear: we have an interest in maintaining peace,” he said.

As Hungary is a member of NATO and the EU, Orbán said he regularly consulted with the country’s allies “before every such meeting”.

“I have already started the talks, and these will continue in the coming days. I am going to Moscow after having consulted with NATO, the EU, and key politicians of the EU presidency,” he said.

Regarding opposition criticism of the way the government has handled the pandemic, Orbán said his political opponents had gone “too far”.

“There is always a better way to do things,” he said, adding that it was the opposition’s role to highlight those. Accusing the opposition of “coveting power to the extent that harms interests of the nation, the country and the population”, however, he added that protection efforts should not be politicised.

Orbán said the operative body set up two years ago had been working to save lives, “and they deserve better than to be attacked for it.”

He said the security of Hungarian citizens had always been the cornerstone of the protection efforts, and that went for vaccines too. The vaccines delivered as aid to other countries are reserves that would expire before they could be administered to Hungarians, so “it is better to give them away than to throw them out,” he added.

Regarding vaccine procurement, Orbán said: “It would be a mistake to expose Hungary to the group of Western pharmaceutical companies rallied by the European Union.” This way, Hungary can “show we are not here to provide extra profits to anyone,” he said.

Commenting on the government’s decision to cap the prices on seven basic foods, Orbán said it could not be left to market players to solve the situation. The government, he added, would continue to protect Hungarians “until things get back on track,”.

Growing energy prices rooted in politically motivated decisions are driving the inflation, Orbán said. “Brussels’ energy policy has failed,” he said.

Climate protection should not be “forced” by imposing high energy prices, Orbán said, because that would lead to general price increases. “Policymaking in general should be about reconciling various viewpoints such as climate protection and social considerations,” he said.

The Hungarian government, the prime minister said, had “for years protected families by cutting utility prices”. Climate policy should focus on ensuring that large polluters bear the brunt of the costs, “rather than letting Brussels burden Hungarian families,” he said.

Leave a Reply