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Tag: Viktor Orbán

Orbán meeting Putin again in February

picture of Viktor Orbán and Vladimir Putin

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will be meeting with President Vladimir Putin in early February, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced on his Facebook page.

Szijjártó was just recently in Moscow himself, where he received the Order of Friendship from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for his achievements in the development of bilateral relations. Russia’s Order of Friendship is the highest award a foreign citizen can receive.

According to the Minister, 2021 was the most successful year ever in terms of Hungarian-Russian cooperation, and a good basis for “achieving more important results” in 2022.

Péter Szijjártó emphasized that preparations were already underway for the Orbán-Putin meeting, and listed the areas where he believes the relationship between Hungary and Russia will be further strengthened in 2022:

  • we are entering the construction phase of the Paks Nuclear Power Plant expansion project
  • the National Vaccine Factory is preparing to manufacture the Sputnik vaccine
  • we are continuing our coopertation in the area of space technology
  • we are increasing the role of the Záhony region for east-west rail traffic
  • and we are beginning to export new Hungarian food products to the Russian market.

[Magyar Hang]

Local papers owned by Mediaworks publish identical Christmas interview with Viktor Orbán

six pictures of Viktor Orbán

Whenever there’s an election, Easter, or Christmas, one consistent element in newspapers run by the Mediaworks holding company is the “cloned” Orbán interview, writes HVG.

Although county newspapers ostensibly cover local issues, the politics section is edited from Mediaworks’ headquarters on Bécsi Road in Budapest, and the interview with the Prime Minister is a mandatory feature at Easter, Christmas, and elections.

Although normally such interviews are conducted by the “Mediaworks News Center,” this Christmas the interviewer was a certain Péter Csermely, who HVG suggests lobbed softball questions to the Prime Minister and offered biased comments during the interview. Likewise, Orbán gives the same type of pat answers that he does with Katalin Nagy in his usual Friday morning interviews on Kossuth Rádió.

According to Orbán, Hungary has remained a prosperous democracy, saying that:

There is no other country in the EU where the opinions of millions of citizens are taken into account to the same extent as in Hungary when making basic governmental decisions.

Index points out that the Prime Minister also claimed that Germany was more corrupt than Hungary:

Brussels, although it makes a lot of noise about it, cannot seriously think for a moment that Hungary is corrupt. It is enough just to look at the persons in the new German government and see that Hungary does much bettter on the corruption ranking.

The prime minister anticipates that the government will face three challenges in 2022: “The first is to implement these major economic measures, the second is to continue successfully protecting against the virus, and the third is to hold the child protection referendum.”

[HVG, Index]

European Commission: despite Orbán’s denials, Hungary is taking part in joint vaccine procurement

picture of Pfizer vaccine

The Hungarian government continues to claim that it will not be taking part in the European Union’s purchase of Pfizer vaccines that it first declined at the end of May, but the EU appears to be contradicting this claim.

Minister Gergely Gulyás said in early December that new batches of vaccines for children would be arriving, and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also said this about a not-yet-developed vaccine for the omicron variant in his international press conference on Tuesday.

However, the European Commission has said that both of these will be purchased by EU Member States as part of its vaccine procurement. The Brussels-based body told this to 444 a few weeks ago about the vaccine for children, and has now confirmed it to Telex about the omicron vaccine.

Moreover, the Commission also revealed that the Hungarian government had joined its procurement on October 5. It could not have done otherwise, according to the body, as there has been no new contract between Pfizer and the EU since May.

[444]

Bosnians condemn Orbán’s statement on Muslims as “xenophobic and racist”

picture of Orbán press conference

Bosnian officials and religious leaders have condemned the statements made by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (pictured, center) and Zoltán Kovács, State Secretary for International Communications (pictured, right), who claimed that integrating Bosnia-Herzegovina into the European Union would be a challenge because of its large Muslim population, reports Aljazeera.

Kovács wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that “The challenge with Bosnia is how to integrate a country with 2 million muslims.”

At the Government Information briefing on Tuesday, Viktor Orbán said that Hungary supported Bosnia’s bid to join the European Union, and that he would do everything he could to make stability in the Balkans a pan-European interest and persuade member states to further expand the EU.

As the Prime Minister stated,

I will do my utmost to convince Europe’s great leaders that the Balkans may be further away from them than Hungary, but a key issue from the standpoint of their security is how to deal with the security of a state where two million Muslims live.

Following this statement, reactions came from Bosnia the next day: some parties called for a ban on Orbán’s planned official visit to Sarajevo, and a leader of the local Islamic community called Orbán’s statement “xenophobic and racist,” adding:

If such ideologies become the basis of the policy of a united Europe, it will take us back to a time when European unity had to be built on similar fascist, Nazi, violent, and genocidal ideologies that led to the Holocaust and other heinous crimes.

Sefik Dzaferovic, the Bosniak member of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tripartite presidency, also called Orbán’s statement “shameful and rude.”

It is not a challenge for the EU to integrate two million Muslims. Bosniaks in BiH [Bosnia and Herzegovina] are native European people who have always lived here. We are Europeans.

-said Sefik Dzaferovic.

[Telex]

Orbán freezes interest rates on mortgages at October levels

picture of Viktor Orbán

Interest rates on mortgage loans will be fixed at their levels from the end of October, announced Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The measure will enter into force in early January and last for half a year.

Once again, we have made some important decisions. The most important issue today was the issue of rising prices, inflation. All of Europe is suffering because energy prices are going up.

-Orbán said in a video uploaded to his Facebook page.

The Prime Minister emphasized that Hungary was defending itself and protecting families. As he said, they are raising the minimum wage, pensions, maintaining utility price cuts, and had capped the price on fuel.

But inflation is also affecting other areas, such as interest rates on loans already taken out, so we need to open up a new line of defense. I will say it clearly: we are introducing a residential “interest rate stop.” Interest rates on mortgage loans will be fixed to the end of October. The measure will enter into force in early January and will continue until the end of the first half of the year. This means that the February’s mortgage payment will be lower than before. Because Hungary must go forward and not backward.

-announced the Prime Minister.

[Index][Photo: Viktor Orbán / Facebook]

Orbán declares support for pro-secessionist Bosnian Serb leader Dodik

picture of Milorad Dodik

During the three-hour-long government briefing session on December 21, it was nearly overlooked that Viktor Orbán declared the Hungarian government’s support for Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik (pictured). According to news site Azonnali, the Serbian member of Bosnia’s Presidency is working to tear his country apart and endanger peace in the region.

A few days ago, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó announced that Hungary would not support any EU sanctions on Dodik. Szijjártó’s statement came after Annalena Baerboek, the new German foreign minister, suggested that sanctions be imposed on the Bosnian Serb leader.

Now, Azonnali considers it likely that Orbán will provide €100 million (US $113 million) in aid to Republika Srpska, the Bosnian Serb Republic, to help stabilize the region. The money would be intended for small and medium-sized businesses, but analysts consider it more probable that the entire amount will end up in Dodik’s election coffers.

Orbán has met Milorad Dodik several times recently, but details about their discussions have not be revealed. Experts that the news site talked to see four possibilities for the meetings between the two men: to nurture Dodik’s regional leadership ambitions and his need for other politicians to accept him as a leader, to destable the region at Russia’s request, to explore business opportunities, or to facilitate communication between Dodik and the UN.

But with Szijjártó stating that Hungary will block any joint action from the EU and the Hungarian government preparing to hand over a significant amount of money to a politician who has been working for years to break Bosnia-Herzegovina apart, the bleakest scenarios appear the most likely, writes Azonnali.

What this is really about, believes Goran Katić, a journalist at Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, is the Hungarian government attempting to expand its influence in the Balkans through closer working relationships with regimes similar to Hungary, such as Serbia, Republika Srpska, and Montenegro.

Bosnia will be holding Parliamentary elections in the fall, and Dodik is currently in weak shape politically, with poverty, unemployment, and emigration a serious problem in the county.

The opposition Democratic Progress Party (PDP) seems to be aware of these issues and is focusing on them insted of nationalist rhetoric. Not so long ago, the party managed to snatch Banja Luka, the largest city in Republika Srpska, away from Dodik.

[Azonnali]

Hungary will not comply with European Court ruling on asylum law

picture of Viktor Orbán

Viktor Orbán announced during the government information briefing on Tuesday that Hungary would not be complying with a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the treatment of migrants attempting to enter the country as asylum seekers.

The Prime Minister referred to a verdict handed down by the Constitutional Court earlier this month as justification for his intransigence, saying:

The Hungarian Constitutional Court has also recently ruled on this matter, making it absolutely clear that no matter what the European Court decides, Hungary must continue to protect its borders. And so, following the ruling of the Constitutional Court, the government has examined our options and we have decided that we won’t make any changes to our border protection efforts. In other words, we’ll keep operating the same system as before, even if the European Court of Justice has called on us to change it. We will not change, and we will not let anyone in.

According to Telex, the Prime Minister interpreted the Consitutional Court’s December 10 ruling quite liberally, according to his own political narrative, whereas many civic associations drew opposite conclusions from the judgment.

The ECJ case concerned “transit zones” set up along the fence at Hungary’s border with Serbia in response to the migration crisis that erupted in 2015, and the Hungarian government’s deliberate opposition to current European asylum law.

After Hungary set up its border fence, asylum applications could only be submitted in these transit zones, but authorities only permitted a small number of applications to be submitted per day. Circumstances in the transit zones were considered similar to detention, even the “expedited” procedure was extremely lengthy, and denials for asylum could not be appealed.

For this reason, the European Commission initially initiated infringement proceedings against Hungary, referring the case to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. ECJ judges ruled in favor of the Commission, finding that the Hungarian government had breached EU obligations by failing to provide effective access to a fair asylum procedure, illegally detaining applicants in transit zones, and violating procedural guarantees for deportation.

In response, the Hungarian government removed the transit zones but made the procedure for granting asylum virtually impossible. Under the new system, those seeking asylum in Hungary now have to submit a letter of intent at a Hungarian embassy abroad, which in practice means only in Belgrade or Kiev. As a result of this new practice, in a single year only three families, or eight people in total, have been granted the opportunity to enter Hungary legally.

Although Hungary later closed its transit zones, it continues to challenge the ECJ’s ruling. Justice Minister Judit Varga appealed to Hungary’s Constitutional Court to ask whether the verdict by the Luxembourg-based court on Hungary’s asylum obligations violated the country’s sovereignty.

In its December 10 ruling, the Constitutional Court did not take a position on any particular issue, but stated that Hungarian law could prevail if there was a lack of clarity over whether an issue fell under the competence of national or EU law. But the court did not find that as a general rule national law could take precendence over the laws of the European Union.

[Telex]

Who is Katalin Novák, Fidesz’s choice for head of state?

picture of Viktor Orbán and Katalin Novák

After Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced that he was nominating Katalin Novák to be Hungary’s next President of the Republic at a press conference on Tuesday, HVG wrote up a short biography of her. Novák would be the first woman to hold the position of Hungarian head of state.

Since 2020, Katalin Novák has held the post of Minister without Portfolio for Family Affairs. From 2001-2003 she was a rapporteur at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a Ministerial Adviser at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2010-2012.

In 2013, Novák became a Ministerial Commissioner for Francophone Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while from 2012-2014 she was Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Human Resources (Emmi). From 2014-2020, she was State Secretary for Family and Youth Affairs at Emmi, and since 2018 she has served as a Member of Parliament.

Novák is from from Szeged, has three children, and possesses degrees in economics and law. She reportedly speaks four languages beyond Hungarian: French, German, and English at an advanced level, and Spanish at an intermediate level.

The Prime Minister also said that he was sorry that he would have to say goodbye to current President János Áder, who is term-limited after two terms as head of state.

[HVG][Photo: Viktor Orbán / Facebook]

Orbán nominates Katalin Novák to be President of Hungary

picture of Katalin Novák

The guessing game in the media is over: Viktor Orbán has announced that Fidesz-KDNP would be nominating Katalin Novák (pictured) as the next President of the Republic.

The final government information briefing of the year was held on Tuesday. Although normally held by Chancellor Minister Gergely Gulyás, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Zoltán Kovács, State Secretary for International Communication and Relations, also attended the briefing.

The Prime Minister rarely appears before the press, notes Azonnali, but it soon became apparent why he decided to take part in today’s briefing.

Answering a question from ATV, Orbán confirmed that the ruling Fidesz-KDNP parties would nominate Katalin Novák, Minister without Portfolio for Family Affairs, as their candidate for President of the Republic, replacing current President János Áder.

Hungary’s Fundamental Law states that the head of state can hold a maximum of two terms in office. Áder’s term will expire on May 10, but his successor must be elected 30-60 days before the end of his term. This means that a new president must be elected before Parliamentary elections are held in April 2022.

The President of the Republic, therefore, will be elected by the current Parliament. A minimum of 40 deputies must first nominate one person, who is then elected by a quasi-half majority – if this person does not get a two-thirds majority in the first round, a simple majority is enough in the second round.

Katalin Novák has already accepted the nomination, reports Magyar Hang. As she wrote on a Facebook post:

Representing Hungary, serving the entire Hungarian nation – I am preparing for this challenging task with faith, soul and heart. I respectfully accept the nomination to be President of the Republic. I will stay the same as I am.

In recent days, the press has speculated on the names of László Trócsányi, former Minister of Justice and current MEP, and House Speaker László Kövér as possible presidential candidates. Orbán has now put an end to the speculation by nominating Katalin Novák as Hungary’s second woman presidential candidate, after Katalin Szili.

[Azonnali, Magyar Hang]

Orbán claims to have defended utility price cuts against EU pressure

picture of Viktor Orbán at table

“We have defended the utility price cuts, and defended Hungarian families,” declared Prime Minister Viktor Orbán triumphantly in a short video posted to his Facebook page about the EU summit he attended on Thursday.

As the Prime Minister put it:

We were bushed after a long deliberation. We almost came to blows on the most important issue. It was on the issue of energy prices. We could not agree with each other. The Czechs, the Poles, the Slovaks and we Hungarians insisted on curbing the rise in energy prices, whether it be for electricity or gas. Speculators need to be taken out of the system, the utility price cuts have to be protected, and we can’t allow a new energy tax to be introduced, this time on homeowners and automobile drivers. The battle will continue.

[Magyar Hang][Photo: Viktor Orbán / Facebook]

Orbán and Russians hope to get Paks II going by 2029

picture of Paks Power Plant

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán welcomed Alexey Likhachev, Director General of the Russian state nuclear energy group ROSATOM, at the Carmelite Monastery, said Bertalan Havasi, press aide from the Prime Minister’s Office, to state news agency MTI. The meeting was attended by Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and János Süli, minister responsible for the Paks II expansion project.

The participants agreed that the two new units under construction at the Paks Nuclear Power Plant by the Russian concern will ensure that cheap, climate-friendly electricity will be available from domestic sources in the coming decades.

At a time when Europe is facing a utility crisis, it is especially important that nuclear energy play an important role not only in guaranteeing supply but also in creating price stability and maintaining Hungary’s utility price cuts, they stated.

It was also discussed at the meeting that more and more EU countries are recognizing that, in addition to renewable energy sources, nuclear energy needs to play an important part in long-term plans to protect against the worst effects of climate change.

The Hungarian and Russian sides also reviewed the status of Paks II. The participants are working to ensure that the investment project is being carried out in accordance with the strictest Hungarian and international regulations and safety requirements, and are hoping to inaugurate the two new units in Paks in 2029 and 2030, the press chief said.

[Magyar Hang]

Orbán in Sopron: “We have unified the nation”

picture of Viktor Orbán in Sopron

Freedom and patriotism are two great traditions in politics, which are the two great pillars of Hungary that tie together the girders of loyalty.

-Viktor Orbán said at a memorial event on Tuesday marking the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Loyalty Day in the northwestern city of Sopron.

In his speech, the Prime Minister asked Sopron to remain a city of loyalty, connecting the homeland and freedom for the next hundred years, “thus making Hungary a solid building in which we Hungarians can feel at home.”

The Prime Minister also said that the government had unified the nation over the past decade and given jobs to anyone who wanted to work. “We recommend that Hungary go forward and not backward,” added Orbán.

Following the First World War, Sopron was awarded to Austria in 1919, but a local referendum was held on December 14, 1921, in which 65% of the population voted to remain a part of Hungary. Since then, Hungarians have typically referred to Sopron as “The Most Loyal Town” in the country, and the date of the referendum has been celebrated as “Loyalty Day.”

[Index]

Macron and V4 leaders hold press conference after Budapest talks

picture of press conference

On his visit to Budapest yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron held a press conference with heads of government from the Visegrad countries. In addition to host Viktor Orbán, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland, and Prime Minister Eduard Heger of Slovakia all took part in the event.

Viktor Orbán stated that they had “thoroughly and exhaustively” discussed migration, and had “thoroughly, exhaustively, and passionately” gone over the rule of law issue as well. Other topics of discussion in the V4-France summit were the Western Balkans and energy, particularly nuclear energy and the ETS energy accounting system.

As the Hungarian Prime Minister put it, rarely do they get the opportunity to speak so openly about such important issues.

In his speech, Emmanuel Macron spoke about the fact that the European Union is going through a number of intertwined crises, with the migration crisis now critical for Poland. He hopes to carry out a complete reform of the Schengen system when France takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union on January 1, including a review of the rules on external border protection and expelling migrants to their country of origin.

Speaking on the rule of law, the French President said he knew it was a sensitive issue and noted different positions on it. However, he stated that the fight against discrimination and the protection of minorities was an existential issue for the future of the EU. He assured his partners of his good intentions, and stressed that they needed to find the opportunity to make progress in this area as well.

Eduard Heger also spoke about the challenges facing the EU and globally, including the climate crisis. Both Andrej Babis and Mateusz Morawiecki mentioned migration, with Babis defending Viktor Orbán’s defense of Europe with his border fence, and Morawiecki reminding them that that Poland was defending the eastern border of the EU and NATO.

The only Hungarian press allowed at the event was public television channel M1, but a member of the foreign press managed to ask the Hungarian Prime Minister about the Pegasus spyware scandal. In response, Orbán stated that Hungary was a country governed by the rule of law, and that the rule of law, which is always observed, governs the operation of its intelligence services.

Also in response to a question, Orbán stated that Hungary would not be getting its share from the EU Recovery Fund due to political reasons. He said it was completely unacceptable for the European Commission to call for a change in Hungary’s laws on family and on education.

“What does this have to do with restarting the European economy? What has this got to do with using money wisely?” Orbán asked. The Hungarian Prime Minister sees Hungary as a victim of “political blackmail,” but the Hungarian economy is strong enough to survive long-term without these funds.

Viktor Orbán also complained that Hungary had not only not received any praise, but had to suffer harsh attacks all while defending Europe’s borders against migrants.

We were regularly shot in the back from Brussels and some European capitals.

-stated Prime Minister Orbán.

He sees that the situation has changed now, and it is time for the European Union to show some solidarity so that Brussels can provide a fair accounting for the cost of defending Europe that is due to each country.

[HVG]

Fidesz MPs are involved in Völner corruption case, says Hadházy

picture of Pál Völner

Ákos Hadházy thinks that the corruption case against Fidesz politician Pál Völner (pictured) is not really about him at all, but is much “broader,” the independent MP told the program Partizán Spartacus on Sunday night.

The opposition politician claimed that those working in the judicial executor’s office where the alleged corruption took place were practically threatened not to talk about it or risk being fired. However, in the midst of this great secrecy, the authorities also made mistakes, he said.

Among these mistakes were the fact that the existence of an investigation against Völner had been written in a public document. In addition, since information was constantly leaking out about it, after a while the situation was no longer tenable. And so, according to Hadházy the government had no other choice but to let Völner go and make it look like they were dealing with corruption within their own ranks.

On the involvement of others in the government, he said:

It seems very likely that Völner was not the only Fidesz politician who had a hand in these things … there may have been a fairly high level of involvement in Fidesz.

Ákos Hadházy did not provide an answer as to whether there may be involvement at the ministerial level, but said that “for now,” he is convinced that other Fidesz MP are also involved in the affair.

As previously reported, Pál Völner resigned last week as state secretary for legal affairs in the Ministry of Justice after the Prosecutor General asked for his Parliamentary immunity to be lifted. The Fidesz politician left his post as secretary of state, but said in a statement that he had not committed a crime.

[Népszava]

Macron also meeting with opposition politicians next week in Budapest

picture of Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron (pictured) will meet with Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony on Monday afternoon during his upcoming visit to Budapest, reports HVG. The visit will take place at the French Ambassadorial residence in Budapest.

The news site has also learned that Péter Márki-Zay, the joint prime ministerial candidate for the united opposition, Klára Dobrev, MEP from the Democratic Coalition, and Momentum President Anna Donáth will take part in the meeting between the French head of state and the mayor as well.

Macron will arrive in Budapest for a summit between the V4 countries and France on Monday, where he will meet with President János Áder and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and hold talks with the other V4 heads of government.

Ahead of the French President’s visit to Budapest, Macron said of Viktor Orbán on Thursday that the Hungarian prime minister was a “political opponent but a European partner,” noting that EU member states should work together, “even if we have serious differences. And there are, such as on the issue of the rule of law.”

[HVG]

Orbán and Márki-Zay ranked among the most influential people in Europe

picture of Viktor Orbán and Péter Márki-Zay

Both sides of Hungary’s main political divide are represented in the recent ranking of Politico’s annual list of the most influential politicians in Europe, grouped according to three different categories: “doers, dreamers and disrupters.”

Péter Márki-Zay, the opposition’s prime ministerial candidate for next year’s elections, was ranked fifth in the “dreamers” category this year, earning the title of “The standard-bearer” from the news site.

Politico also gave Prime Minister Viktor Orbán a fifth place spot in the “disruptors” category, calling him “The man to beat.”

Donald Tusk, President of the European People’s Party (EPP), tops Politico’s list of “disruptors,” while Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is ranked first among the “dreamers.”

The top “doer” this year is Olaf Scholz, who recently succeeded Angela Merkel as German Chancellor. He is followed by French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron and Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank.

Mario Draghi, Prime Minister of Italy, is ranked as the overall most powerful person in Europe, who the site calls a “political technocrat.”

[444]

Orbán congratulates new German Chancellor Scholz

picture of Olaf Scholz

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán expressed his best wishes to Olaf Scholz (pictured) in a letter to the recently-installed German Chancellor on Wednesday, Bertalan Havasi, head of the Prime Minister’s Press Office, informed MTI.

We consider the reunification of Europe, built on the foundations of our centuries-old historical bond, the change of regime in Central Europe, and the tearing down of the border diving the German people to be a significant factor in Hungarian-German relations.

-the Prime Minister wrote in his letter.

In his letter, Viktor Orbán emphasized that as Germany is a key partner for Hungary, “we remain committed to maintaining and developing our multifaceted cooperative relationship.” Orbán also invited the new chancellor to a V4-Germany summit to be held in Budapest next year.

Earlier, in an article published in German tabloid Bild, the Hungarian prime minister stated that the new left-liberal German government was moving away from Helmut Kohl’s Europe towards a centralized immigration and gender policy in Brussels under German influence.

We are no longer side by side in this. Time will tell how the situation develops

-added Viktor Orbán, who recently praised the relationship between Hungary and Germany in his most recent “Samizdat,” noting that he had directed the economic recovery process since 2010, “together” with now-departing Christian Democrat Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Germany’s new chancellor was elected by the Bundestag at the Wednesday morning session. Social Democrat (SPD) politician Olaf Scholz, the winner of the September 26 parliamentary election, received a majority 395 out of 707 votes.

Following congratulations, Olaf Scholz accepted his nomination from President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and took the oath of office at noon.

[Index]

Retirees to get extra month of pension benefits in February

picture of Viktor Orbán and others

Viktor Orbán signed a decree on Tuesday for a “13th month” pension benefit to arrive in February, as posted in a video on the Prime Minister’s Facebook page.

After sitting at a table with representatives from the Council for the Elderly, Orbán said that:

The past year and a half has been particularly hard on our elderly compatriots, so we’ve taken a look at what we could do for them.

Orbán claimed that the Hungarian economy had been able to return to the growth trajectory where it had been before the coronavirus epidemic, and was now performing well. Every retiree received a pension bonus of 80,000 Ft. (US $245) in November, he said, but “we don’t want to stop there.”

The Prime Minister announced that pensions would increase by 5% next year, as he had also stated in Parliament that day, and that the 13th month pension would also be reintroduced.

[444][Photo: Viktor Orbán / Facebook]

Opposition politicians take Orbán to task for last time in Parliament before elections

picture of Viktor Orbán

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (pictured) announced in Parliament’s plenary session on Monday that from January, pensions would be raised to 5% instead of 3%, saying that a decree to this effect would soon be issued.

As reported yesterday, today is likely to the be last day before the general elections in the spring in which the opposition will have the opportunity to ask questions of the Prime Minister in Parliament.

Bence Tordai, a spokesman for Dialogue, attacked the government on its management of the coronavirus pandemic in a long list of errors he said had been made. He also mentioned the EU procedure against Hungary for its breach of obligations, that people are dying from high levels of air pollution, and that many elderly people have also frozen to death.

In response, Viktor Orbán rejected the “disgusting” attack on health care workers, and said that health care was not fragmented. He recalled that the opposition had even voted in favor of a law to restructure the sector.

Meanwhile, the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) drew attention to the high number of coronavirus deaths compared to other countries. MSZP’s Tamás Harangozó said that it was shocking for any party to learn that the National Hospital Directorate General had destroyed PCR tests. “Do you consider it normal for one million people to have their PCR tests destroyed instead of giving them away for free to at least the educational institutions or at least to the people who can legally conduct them?” he asked.

In reply, the Prime Minister said that PCR tests don’t do anything to help against Covid. Viktor Orbán said that only vaccination helps, and he encouraged everyone to get their shot. Orbán said that there is now enough of a supply for everyone to get vaccinated.

Jobbik inquired about teacher salaries from the Prime Minister. The party’s Balázs Ander asked Orbán, “What about the promised teacher pay raise?”

Viktor Orbán replied that teacher salaries were indeed low and lagged behind rival sectors. He indicated that a 10% increase in teacher salaries would be put into effect next year. Educators are right, and rightly demand a wage settlement, he said.

[Népszava]

Orbán pens farewell to Angela Merkel

picture of Angela Merkel

“Angela Merkel is departing from the German Chancellery on December 8, and a piece of Central European life is also leaving with her,” Viktor Orbán wrote in his 14th “Samizdat” missive, published on the Prime Minister’s website on Monday.

“We understood her, and she understood us,” added the Prime Minister about Angela Merkel (pictured). “Soviet occupation, Communist dictatorship, resistance and the popular movements in 1988-89, victory, freedom, reunification and then the Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, the new founder of the state.”

We worked together to manage the financial crisis in 2010, we were comrades in the fight to keep the European Union intact, and together watched helplessly and ineffectually the outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian war, which was tragic for Europe. The loyal and disciplined Germans, the rebellious and unbridled Hungarians working for a common goal, a Europe in which every nation can feel at home

-wrote Viktor Orbán.

The Prime Minister also addressed the incoming German administration, declaring it as “pro-immigration, gender-friendly, and federalist.” As he expressed it,

One thing is for sure, the era of ambiguity, stealth politics, and drift has ended with Merkel. New, “open-helmet” times are coming,

-Prime Minister Viktor Orbán wrote in his 14th Samizdat paper.

[Magyar Hang, via MTI]