Orbán blames poor relations with Obama administration on ideological differences

November 25, 2016


Vg.hu has published an interview with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in which he lauds the Hungarian economy’s many successes and says the country has laid the groundwork to meet the challenges of the digital age.

Vg.hu is a generally reliable online daily whose publisher (Mediaworks) was acquired last month by a company linked to the prime minister’s close friend and confidante, Lőrinc Mészáros.  In the interview published late Thursday night, Orbán is asked a number of questions about the decision to raise the minimum wage 23 percent over the next two years, including:

  • Did you think it would be so easy to reach an agreement with employers to increase minimum wage?
  • Are we closing the gap with European wages?
  • Will an increase in minimum wage mean we lose the competitive advantage we offer through cheap labor?
  • Should pensioners be worried that they were left out of the negotiations?
  • Small businesses are worried they will not be able to cover the increase in costs. What will happen to them?
  • Are we going to lower the personal income tax?

Towards the end of the interview, the online daily asked

  • Is Hungary’s position going to improve with the election of a new president in America?

Orbán replied that he had spoken to US President-elect Donald Trump on the phone and “I can declare that our position has greatly improved.”

He continued: “Donald Trump made it clear that he holds Hungary in high esteem. I got the impression he knows that Hungary is a brave and freedom-fighting nation which has produced great economic accomplishments over the past six years.

“[Trump] invited me to Washington. I told him that I haven’t been there in a long time because they treated me like a black sheep. He laughed and said they did the same to him. I think Donald Trump will be the kind of president who is not ideologically confined. He’s an open man who is more interested in success, productivity and results than political theory. This is good for us because the facts are on our side. The economic relations have been good until now but it was the ideologies that posed problems,” Orbán concluded.

The full interview can be read here.