PM Orbán begins year with two-hour press conference

In an unusual move, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held the weekly press briefing of the cabinet on January 10th at a press conference that lasted two hours.

During the press conference, PM Orbán touched upon virtually every topical issue concerning Hungary and Europe, emphasizing the stability and outstanding growth of the country's economy.

He said GDP growth for 2018 is expected to come in around 4.6 percent - more than twice the European average, state debt has been reduced to 71 percent of the GDP and the budget deficit was contained at two percent.

Orbán said that for political reasons many foreign analysts tend to underestimate the performance of the Hungarian economy in their forecasts and this will be especially true in 2019, a pivotal year with European parliamentary elections coming up in May.

Referring to the amendment of the labor law - increasing allowed overtime to 400 hours from a previous 250 - Orbán said that contrary to the opposition's claims the modification "gives (more) freedom to employees".

Referring to Italian minister of interior Matteo Salvini's recent visit to Poland, Orbán said the birth of a "Polish-Italian axis" is further reason to hope that in the next European Parliament the European People's Party will have more allies who stand against migration.

Responding to the criticism often leveled at him that he does not give interviews to the opposition press, Orbán said "an interview should not be me in a bullfight with a journalist", adding that he does not accept situations in which "a hostile person asks prejudiced questions".

Title image: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the weekly cabinet press briefing (image: MTI/Szilárd Koszticsák)

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