According to President Novák, Hungary’s most important problem is how it can remain a strong, sovereign country in this “drafty part of the world.” In an interview with 24.hu, Katalin Novák also said that she does not consider it the task of the head of state to criticize either the government or the opposition.
She stated that the head of State is independent of the government, and does not explain the government’s decisions, but tries to represent the Hungarian people and Hungary.
“This is my task, and it follows from the Basic Law,” she said. In her view, it is worth talking about what is happening in Hungary, “how we live here” and what concerns the majority of the Hungarian people. She added that her experience in talks with foreign partners is that there is relatively little factual knowledge about this. This is because their partners “do not necessarily get their information from factual sources,” Novák said.
The head of state replied in the negative to the question whether, since she has been in office, she has always been able to agree with the Hungarian government’s decisions, statements, and vetoes. As an example, she said she would have been happy if the majority of the government had already agreed to ratifying Sweden’s accession to NATO.
It is the sovereign right of the National Assembly to decide on this matter, but she thinks it would be timely.
She added that she had received a promise from the prime minister that Hungary would not be an obstacle to Sweden joining NATO.
She also said that she had not had to explain the government’s decisions on her trips abroad. She said that if she had information and could answer questions, she would do so. She also added that she was in good contact with almost all the heads of state in Europe and had had the opportunity to meet many heads of government.
Katalin Novák during the interview. photo: Adrián Zoltán / 24.hu
Asked how much of her activity abroad as head of state was her own decision and how much was the decision of the head of government, she replied that it was her decision first and foremost, but it was not against the intentions of the head of government. She shares her ideas with the prime minister from time to time, meets with him regularly, and he also tells her what decisions he is planning to make, Novák said.
On the subject of her first trip abroad to Warsaw, she confirmed that she considers Hungarian-Polish relations to be of the utmost importance.
It is a fact that this period since the outbreak of the war has been more difficult for Hungarian-Polish relations than it was in years before.
At the same time, she answered in the negative to the question as whether “Hungarian-Polish relations are cold now.” In her assessment, they are no worse off than they were a year ago.
She also emphasized that she did not consider it the task of the head of state to criticize either the opposition or the government. Asked if there was a point or domestic political decision in the country, on which she felt she had to express her opinion, she said “absolutely.”
Katalin Novák at the B9 Summit in Bratislava.
Asked to what extent she considers herself independent of Viktor Orbán, she maintained that the president of the Republic should be as independent as the prime minister. She had admitted to the fact that she had already disagreed with the prime minister on several issues. Asked whether if Hungary had a left-wing prime minister, would her opinion be sought as often, she said it was obviously up to two people, but she would certainly seek to have regular contact between them.
Asked about the difference between Orbán’s position on the war in Ukraine and her own, she replied that there was a difference in how nuanced their positions were.
We agree with the prime minister on the substantive issues. My position is perhaps less nuanced than his; I accept that,”
Featured Photo via Facebook/Katalin Novák
Filed Photo via 24.hu/Adrián Zoltán and Facebook/Katalin Novák