Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview to public broadcaster Kossuth Rádió that the difference between the mortality rate in 2019 and 2020 — “with small corrections” — corresponded to the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Hungary. In international comparison, that number puts Hungary ahead of states such as Belgium, Italy, Spain, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden and France, he said. “Although I would be wary of using the word ‘success’ in this context,” he said. “Victory”, the vaccine, is at arm’s length. Rather than just waiting for it, Hungary is in talks with Israel, China and Russia as well as western suppliers, Orbán said. In the EU, negotiations are carried out by Brussels and “we are waiting for the vaccine to arrive”, which is “frustrating”, he said. Hungary had contracted 8.5 million doses of the vaccine, he said.
Orbán congratulated the United Kingdom, which negotiated vaccine procurement on its own after leaving the EU on January 1. “They are now in much better shape than we are, with our protection efforts going through Brussels.” Orbán said he expected this to circle back to the question of only transferring powers to Brussels that it can be guaranteed to exercise more effectively than member states. Member states should have control over significantly more areas than they currently do, Orbán said, adding that Brussels should give a portion of its powers back to nation states.