According to the Minister of State for International Communication and Relations, the epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus was a stress test for governments, local communities and economies worldwide.

On a Monday current affairs-political programme of BBC Radio Four – which featured former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and former Chilean President-United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet among others – Zoltán Kovács highlighted that the Hungarian health care system had stood its ground against the challenges posed by the virus.

“However, we also saw weaknesses,” Hungarian health care experienced the same problems of preparedness as other European health care services, including shortages of equipment, and we must now learn from these experiences and lessons, he added.

According to Mr Kovács, Hungary is ready for this.

In answer to the reporter’s question about why the Hungarian government needed wider authorisation from Parliament, the Minister of State argued that the strength of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government stems from the fact that for ten years – in the past three terms of government – there has been an enormous democratic mandate behind it; the government has a two-thirds “super majority” in Parliament”.

This is a good thing, and is especially useful at times of crises when there is a need for firm action and measures adopted in good time. Mr Kovács said he believes that the numbers speak for themselves.

He added that faced with the consequences of the virus, primarily the economic ones, efficiency and the government’s measures are the factors that truly speak for themselves.

The reporter mentioned that during the epidemic – while many people found themselves impoverished – the largest global tech companies significantly increased their revenues. In answer to the question as to whether the epidemic created a good opportunity for politicians around the world to unanimously state that this is not right, Mr Kovács said Hungary as a member of the European Union is doing everything it can in order to draw attention to this.

“We were among the first to raise the issue that the European Union must defend itself against challenges of this nature,” he added.

Mr Kovács said in the past ten years the government has restructured the Hungarian economy – which was once on the verge of collapse due to the financial crisis – and today it is in a better state than it was a decade ago.

Now, however, we must rise to challenges that are emerging globally and at the level of the European Union, the Minister of State said.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister / MTI)