Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó (R) and CNN anchor Richard Quest
If there were systemic corruption in Hungary, there would be no growth, investors would not come here, they would not bring their money here, so this is clearly an accusation, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a special edition of CNN’s Quest Means Business in Budapest.
Responding to a question from host Richard Quest that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said Hungary needed to make significant progress in addressing recommendations on bribery and corruption, Péter Szijjártó said that there is a country that has a clear growth trajectory, despite all the difficulties, including the Covid-19 outbreak, including the war in the neighborhood, including not getting EU funds, and yet it is still on a growth trajectory.
The Minister said that year after year, Hungary is breaking investment records. “Do you think all this would be possible if there was systemic corruption?” Because if there is systemic corruption, there is no growth, investors will not come, and they will not bring their money here. “So it is clearly an accusation,” he added, accusing the presenter of not asking investors here, big companies from Germany, France, and the US, if they had experienced anything similar.
In the interview, Péter Szijjártó called the attacks on Hungary offensive. He said he understood their problem, which he said was that “we have a government here that is clearly anti-mainstream.”
This is a right-wing government, a Christian Democrat government, a very patriotic government, a government that goes against the international liberal mainstream on many important issues, and yet this government is successful.
“Winning elections is a very difficult thing, but winning elections four times in a row by a large margin is very difficult,” Péter Szijjártó stressed.
Richard Quest raised the issue of the “anti-gay law” in Uganda, and the Foreign Minister said that he did not know the specific law, but if someone is threatened because he believes in something, “because he belongs to any community because he falls in love with someone if he is threatened for that – even with the death penalty – I strongly condemn it, because here, in this country, regardless of who is in love with whom, regardless of what community he belongs to, he is safe here and protected by the constitution. And as long as this government is in place, no one should be afraid (…) belonging to any community, in love with anybody,” he emphasized.
The program also touched on the war in Ukraine, with Richard Quest asking Péter Szijjártó whether he thought the Ukrainians had launched a drone attack against the Kremlin. He replied that he did not know, but one thing was certain: the longer this war goes on, the more such events could happen, and the more such events happen, the greater the risk of escalation. In response to a further question, he also said that NATO is not part of the conflict and that every effort must be made to ensure that NATO does not become part of the conflict and does not come into direct conflict with the Russian Federation.
Péter Szijjártó reminded the presenter that.
Hungary has done everything to help the Ukrainian people in this war. The country has taken in more than a million refugees and more than 1,300 schools and kindergartens are taking in Ukrainian children and students.
“We have done everything we can to help the Ukrainian people. But one thing we will never do is take any step that would create a greater risk of escalation. Please understand this, as a neighboring country and as a member of a nation whose members are dying in this conflict, we will do everything we can to stop this war. This is the most important issue,” the Minister stressed.
Featured photo via Facebook/Szijjártó