Orbán praises spread of broadband in Hungary


Hungary could become the most connected country in Europe, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán reportedly said this morning, commenting on planned broadband developments in the country. During his biweekly radio interview, Orbán also talked at length about the refugee situation, but did not comment on the teachersʼ strike, nor the Sunday openings.

Hungaryʼs Prime Minister Viktor Orbán before his interview today. (Photo: MTI/Tibor Illyés)

During an interview with state-owned Kossuth radio after his official trip to Germany, the prime minister said that, under an agreement the Hungarian government made with telco giant Deutsche Telekom, all Hungarian businesses and families are expected to have broadband internet access in the very near future. In this respect, “we want to be the first in Europe, even beating out Germany”, Orbán said, according to Hungarian news agency MTI. 

The prime minister also said that the Hungarian government is committed to further reducing VAT on internet services. “Weʼve started reducing the VAT rate on internet and we want to continue this in the coming years,” MTI quoted Orbán. Earlier this week it was reported that internet service providers will be required to pass on the VAT rate reduction for internet services, from 27% to 18%, onto users. 

Discussing refugees, not teachersʼ strike and Sunday openings

Commenting on the refugee situation in Europe, the prime minister reiterated the Hungarian government standpoint. Regarding criticism levelled at Hungary, Orbán said that “the West lives in a bubble”. He added that Brussels and leftist parties need to be stopped in their attempt to let millions of people into Europe. According to Orbán, procedures regarding refugees should be handled in Africa, and only after that should people be allowed to enter Europe, Hungarian online daily reported. 

He also reiterated that this is a grave issue that Hungarians need to decide on through a referendum. He stressed that countries in the Schengen system must protect their borders.

The prime minister, however, did not discuss two significant happenings of the last two weeks: the day-long teachersʼ strike and the scrapping of the Sunday closings law.

On Wednesday approximately 25,000 people and 1,185 educational institutions joined a day-long strike organized by Teachers’ Union (PSZ).

Last week, Parliament passed an amendment to scrap the Sunday closings law, which was passed by Orbánʼs Fidesz party and prevented retailers from opening on Sundays. Within days, the majority of retailers present in Hungary announced that they would open on Sundays from May 8, while some retailers were already open for business this past Sunday.

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