The government has spent HUF 90 million (USD 340,000) on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s flights since 2014, including trips to Switzerland, the purpose of which has yet to be revealed, reports HírTV after it obtained data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
According to the ministry, Orbán has flown abroad 109 times since 2014, bringing average government expenditure per prime ministerial flight to HUF 837,000 (USD 3,200).
His most expensive flight to date was to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, a trip that cost Hungarian taxpayers a whopping HUF 5.64 million (USD 21,400).
The list of foreign flights includes numerous unexplained trips to Switzerland. Inexplicably, the state news agency (MTI) neglected to report these trips.
Fidesz vice-chair and leader of the party’s parliamentary group Gergely Gulyás accused the press of “demagoguery” for dealing with Orbán’s plane tickets. Gulyás asserted that HUF 90 million is little to spend on state visits bringing billions of forints of profit to Hungary.
Update November 20, 2017
Head of the Prime Minister’s Press Office Bertalan Havasi disclosed the purpose of the Prime Minister’s trips to Switzerland to the commercial TV channel RTL Klub.
- On October 6, 2014, the Prime Minister negotiated with leaders of the International Olympic Committee.
- In January 2015, Orbán attended an International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) gala.
- Between April 15 and 16, 2015, Orbán negotiated with the board of the International Swimming Federation.
- On June 9, 2015 the Prime Minister met Prime Minister of Kazahstan Karim Massimov.
- On February 27, 2017, Orbán traveled to Switzerland to officially inform President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach about Hungary’s withdrawal from the competition to hold the 2024 Olympic Games.
RTL Klub notes that neither the meeting with Kazakh Prime Minister nor the 2014 meeting with leaders of the International Olympic Committee are communicated on the Hungarian government’s official website. The announcement of Orbán officially withdrawing from the Olympics bid is also nowhere to be found.