Pro-govt rally likely saved us, says Orban – interview

Budapest, October 18 (MTI) – Had it not been for the pro-government rally held at the height of attacks against the government in January, the Fidesz administration might not have survived, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said in an interview.

In a publication called United Homeland – Peace March 2012 released on Thursday, Orban said that by the end of last year “attacks” on Hungary had reached such a pitch that “certain forces” had nurtured genuine hopes of toppling the government, and the rally of hundreds of thousands in support of the government had probably averted such an outcome.


In the interview to Zsolt Bayer, a conservative journalist who was one of the organisers of the march, Orban said the attacks had been “coordinated” by speculators, foreign companies, businessmen and European bureaucrats in order to protect their interests against government measures to stop foreign interests from draining money from our “guaranteed markets”.


Opposition groups are planning to hold a big rally on the October 23 national holiday. The pro-government Peach March has a similar event planned.


Orban added that his personal maneouvres, as well as those of the government and the European People’s Party, had also played a part in thwarting the attacks.


Asked about a comment by economist Peter Rona that people close to the German Chancellor had decided to “replace” Orban at the end of 2012/early 2013, the prime minister said “I would leave the German government out of that; Germany is not synonymous with German papers and journalists.”


“It is not in Germany’s interest that Hungary should be unstable and arrive at a state which diverges from democratic institutions,” he said, referring to the street riots of 2006 during the government of former Socialist premier Ferenc Gyurcany. “The Germans are not going to intervene as far as what happens in Hungary unless Hungary opposes its strategy to rebuild Europe’s economy … we do not intend to oppose [this].”


The prime minister also said he was convinced of the demise of globalisation. Regionalism and a “national renaissance” which he said should be linked to Europe’s Christian heritage, would take its place, he said.


“Without Christianity, the national renaissance in Europe … leads towards the Third Reich and Stalin. The national renaissance on a godless basis could bring destruction to Christian civilization,” he said.


On the subject of domestic politics, Orban said there was no “solid-structured” political player to the right of the governing forces. Behind [radical nationalist] Jobbik there is the “army of outlaws” and other “amorphous formations,” he said. “There are groups that form conglomerates and unless they are helped to political power from the outside, they cannot cast a major influence on the country because they lack the ability to govern and to keep peace and stability,” he said.


Orban emphasised that Hungary should not leave the European Union. He said this would be a “disastrous decision, though understandable emotionally”. He said were this the happen, living standards would drop by half and public debt would rise drastically. At the same time, he said, Europe must be changed because it is going in the wrong direction.


“Having said that, Hungary is not doing well economically so it cannot preach reforms to Europe; first we need economic success at home” he said.


The prime minister said every successful country and emerging economy in central Europe owed its success to a flat tax. He said there was nothing that gave more incentive for work than a “proportionate” tax regime.


Orban said he would — if he could — make labour tax-free altogether, but this was impossible. Instead he wants to put a high tax on consumption, he added. The future of Hungary lies in whether the current 56 percent employment rate can go up to an EU average level of 66 percent or the US average of 76 percent.


“This is why I am working on a tax system, a pension system and a public works system which can achieve this,” Orban said.