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PM: I never considered Russia an example

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Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told an audience in Münich yesterday that he is not seeking a special relationship with Russia and claimed that efforts to build the South Stream natural gas pipeline and the new Paks nuclear reactor are only in Hungary's interest. “I never stated that Russia’s example is to be followed and that the West should change,” he reportedly said in response to questioning.

In a lecture at Hanns Seidel Foundation in Munich, Orbán sought to "fine-tune" the message he gave this summer during a now famous speech in Băile Tușnad (Tusnádfürdő) Romania, according to hvg.hu.

He also defended the current Hungarian tax system as fair, saying it is not the job of the government to equalise pay, according to hvg.hu. The PM reportedly said that there is nothing wrong with income differentials, explaining that financial differences should be viewed as a “motivating force”, and that the financial gap between classes should not be reduced, but instead the “culture of envy” should be transformed into the “culture of respect”.

As for his dealings with Russia, Orbán reportedly said that Hungary “does not intend to get close to anyone or distance from anyone”, in reference to diplomatic pressure that the United States has been putting on Hungary. He said that his “Opening to the East” policy, namely the plans to develop the South Stream pipeline, which bypasses Ukraine, and the Paks nuclear power plant – both in cooperation with Russia – are primarily economic issues, but they had become entangled in "geopolitical, military-policy and security-policy issues" due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Orbán also maintained that  Hungary is not “pursuing a Russia-friendly policy but a Hungary-friendly policy”. In the Prime Minister’s opinion the construction of South Stream and the Paks expansion were both in the national interest.

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