In what was his first public appearance in 2015, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave his customary weekly radio interview with public Kossuth Rádió’s 180 perc (180 minutes). As an introduction he reflected on the tragedy of French satirical journal Charlie Hebdo, calling the terrorist attack a “brutal barbaric act” and emphasizing the fact that it has happened within the EU. Orbán used the opportunity to once again articulate his opinion that even though according to him “talking sense when the soul is shaken is not tasteful”, he repeated his discontent with “liberal Western European immigration policy”.
Besides international developments the prime minister took time to reflect on some of the pressing Hungarian issues on which he has so far been silent. He called on the opposition to stop suggesting that Angel Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, will be critical of his governance during her upcoming visit to Hungary. Orbán warned his political opponents that:
“Do not handle Merkel as a first violinist in a gypsy band from whom you can request a song at any time.”
As for the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Hungarian prime minister only said that it is Hungary’s interest to avoid direct involvement in military conflicts that “are not our wars” at any cost. According to him, this is why his government is reluctant to join either side in the Russian-Western conflict. Orbán admitted that US-Hungarian relations are on a low point, lamenting the fact that “we cannot talk with each other on a respectful tone” even though “military and economic cooperation” with the United States “are still excellent.”
The Hungarian leader also addressed the situation of Hungarian public education, admitting that it continues to be unsatisfactory with regards to quality and mobility. He however defended the recent introduction of new road taxes, saying that “the system is logical, even though we are at the moment witnessing some disturbances of a test run.”
Orbán did not miss the opportunity to emphasize that his governance “continues to remain stable and firm” despite “the struggling of the left.” He announced that 2015 will be a year to “forge a new middle class”, and to protect employees.
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The interview can be accessed in Hungarian at this website clicking on “180 perc” on the timeline, starting at 1 hour 19 mins: