the us is to release 50 million barrels of oil from its reserves in an attempt to bring down soaring energy prices, particularly that of gasoline. the move is being taken in parallel with other major oil—consuming nations, including china, india, japan, south korea, and the uk. a man accused of ramming a car into a christmas parade in the us state of wisconsin has appeared in court to face charges of intentional homicide. darrell brooks is charged with six deaths after another victim, a child, died. nearly 50 people were also injured in the attack in waukesha. north macedonia and bulgaria have declared days of mourning to remember victims of a bus crash on a bulgarian motorway yesterday. at least 45 people, mostly tourists, were killed when the coach crashed in flames in western bulgaria. the cause of the crash is still unclear. now on bbc news it's hardtalk
with stephen sackur. welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. next spring, the eu's most controversial leader, prime minister viktor orban of hungary, will seek a new mandate. his grip on power in budapest is tight, covering the parliament, the media and the economy. his opponents at home, and in brussels, call him an autocrat, but can he be beaten at the ballot box? well, my guest is peter marki—zay, who will lead a united opposition front into that election. now, he's a small—town mayor with big ambition, but is being the candidate who is not orban enough?
peter marki—zay, in south—eastern hungary, welcome to hardtalk. well, nice to have you. nice to be on your show. it's great to have you on the show. ijust called you "a small—town mayor with very big ambitions". do you think that's fair? and if it is fair, how do you persuade hungarians that you have what it takes to be the nation's leader? well, hopefully, my experience as a mayor of a town of a4,000 inhabitants qualifies me, since hodmezovasarhely, my town, has been a fidesz stronghold for 30 years before our victory here or, actually, two of our victories here. hodmezovasarhely represents
more the average hungarian town, or population, than budapest, for example. budapest has been an opposition stronghold for decades, probably, but hodmezovasarhely is closer to the average hungarian city, or even a village. yes. well, fair point, but as you put it, your town of 4a,000, hodmezovasarhely, is a place where the particular challenges you face are local. i'm looking at the issues you've been grappling with — the establishment of a youth club, replacing street signs, modernisation of the hodtoi sports hall, setting up a voluntary garbage collection. and these are all important and they matter to your population, but if you were to be prime minister of hungary, you'd be dealing with geopolitics, you'd be dealing with extremely difficult challenges facing your nation in the eu and the wider world. you're not prepared for that.
well, i may not be. we also face very similar challenges here locally, but nationally will be also important, including corruption. fighting corruption is something that we have in common here in hodmezovasarhely and on a national level. in what way can you convince the hungarian people that you can take on what you call the corruption that has been evident to you over the last decade of viktor orban's rule in hungary? because he now controls, through his fidesz party, notjust the parliament, but key institutions of government, key levers of the economy, much of the media in hungary. his grip is very tight. well, except for the last four years, i've been a mid—level manager in multinational companies, both here in hungary and in north america. also, here in hungary, i also have been working for large multinational
companies. so, just the practice, the experience in leadership helps me manage a small town, but also helps me make compromises, helps me deal with people, manage different groups of people. also convince voters, of course, i already have the experience here locally, during two elections, and the third was the national primaries, where i was the unexpected winner by being able to convince people that i will change the three—decades—old habit of corruption and power games. as you say, you came from behind in this primary process to find a united opposition candidate. i think it's fair to say it was a bit of a surprise to many that you came through in the end. itjust surprises me that you made a deliberate comparison with donald trump. surprising because, you know, we've seen what happened to donald trump, both in power and in the leaving of power, and it's odd to me that
you would compare yourself to him for that reason, but also because we know donald trump was a great fan of viktor orban. so, why do you find the trump comparison attractive? i don't. it wasn't me, to be honest with you. it was the media, or some media personalities, who compared me to trump, and in a way, you know, they might have been right — just he was also a surprise victor without real party backing at primaries before he was elected nationally. but, of course, there's not much in common other than this. also, his use of the social media probably was also something that we had to rely on in lack of sufficient financial resources. but other than that, i really don't find it neither flattering or a true parallel between the two of us. we know what viktor orban stands for. we've had years to get used to his brand of nationalism, his championing of what he calls illiberal democracy, his defence of what he sees
as hungary's christian conservative values. we understand that, but looking at you, it's very hard to know exactly what you stand for because you're a chameleon, you want to win the votes of the orban conservatives and the votes of the socialists, the progressives and the liberals. in politics, you cannot be all things to all men, can you? no, actually, and i also have to refuse the comparison. if someone is a chameleon, it's viktor orban. just remember that orban started his political career in the communist youth movement in the �*80s. then he became a harshly anti—clerical liberal, a very strongly liberal politician in hungary, before turning into someone who i also supported — a harshly anti—putin, pro—european union conservative.
but, unfortunately, after november 25th, 2009, when he met personally with putin, he turned into a harshly critical... ..a critic of the european union and a very much pro—putin, not so much conservative candidate any more. his politics are pretty much building a one—party state, an authoritarian regime, a very corrupt dictatorship. of course, i couldn't follow him into this, so after he made this u—turn — turning towards putin and against europe — i stopped following him, but i haven't changed. in these last three decades, i have always been a catholic. i'm a father of seven kids. i'm also a conservative. you know, right—wing. i'm an economist. so, i don't think i have
changed much, and i have always declared these same values. and those greens, liberals and social democrats who supported me during the primaries, they were always — they were always — aware of my values, and they accepted that now we have to unify the entire opposition, and probably someone who's coming from the right has a better chance of convincing swing voters, convincing former fidesz supporters that now they also have to choose the opposition, have to support us. specifically, how will you change hungary on what have become, during the orban years, key issues? so, let's start with social issues like lgbt rights. you say you're a staunch conservative, you've been a more genuine, longer—term conservative than viktor orban. so, what would you change about what orban has done on that key issue of lgbt rights? well, we have now consensus in the opposition. the consensus is that gay marriage will be allowed, it will become legal in hungary and it's... before you ask, it's not in contradiction with my faith — my catholic faith — since i honestly believe that the catholic church can
have their own opinion. but in a secular state, i, as a catholic, can still follow my own conviction and still grant same rights to same—sex couples as a statesman. there's another law which was passed recently in hungary, which bans, quote, "homosexual and transsexual propaganda". will you undo that, as well? absolutely. right away. it has not done anything else. it was just serving propaganda purposes for orban. of course, the relationship between hungary and european law is complex in several areas, so let's quickly talk about migration. fidesz, the ruling party, passed a law which makes it a criminal offence for people or organisations to help asylum seekers and refugees to apply for asylum in hungary. will you undo that law, too?
well, probably, but we would have to look at the details because what orban is saying — orban's rhetoric — is also in harsh contradiction to what he does. please don't forget that 0rban declared, in 2002, that hungary needs one million migrants — migrant workforce — for its economic development, and what he is doing, actually, he is accepting... well, he was accusing mr soros of planning to bring in migrants to hungary or europe. soros�*s plan included an upper limit of 500,000 migrants per year, which means, for hungary, maybe 10,000. but 0rban has been bringing to hungary four orfive times this number. so, just in the last... like, 2018 — 2019, sorry — 0rban gave a residency permit for 55,000 migrant workers.
in 2020, 113,000, even during the covid crisis. so, 0rban is actually allowing migrant workers to come to hungary because it is a necessity for him and german auto—makers and other companies. you've just given a very long answer which didn't actually directly respond to my question. i want to know very specific things. i want to know, for example, whether you will guarantee to rescind that law, which human rights groups have condemned in very strong terms, which makes it a criminal offence for hungarians to help asylum seekers and refugees to apply for asylum. you know, this is a signal of where you are on this debate. so, will you rescind that law or not? well, again, there is no one simple answer. sorry for that. like i said, 0rban is helping refugees, although you may not be aware. you made your points about viktor 0rban. bizarrely, given that the european union and human rights groups see that viktor 0rban's approach to migrants has been, in their view, unfair and counter to international law, you're saying that you would be even tougher
on migrants, are you? well, definitely tougher on criminals. 0rban has also helped islamist terrorists that are known internationally — wanted criminals — to come to hungary and receive a residency permit with the help of his citizenship bond programme. so, i will be much tougher on them, that's for sure. see, underpinning my questions, whether it be on the lgbt issue or whether it be on the migration issue, is a fundamentally important point. are you prepared to accept that european law trumps hungarian law, that, unlike in poland, for example, or unlike in the mind of mr 0rban, you are prepared, on this show, to say, "if i am the leader of hungary, "we will abide by all european law "and rulings of the european cou rt" ? all well, i am a federalist,
if that is your question, which means that i very much accept. i actually want a much stronger europe. i also want a european fbi — a european fbi that has jurisdiction over the kinds of viktor 0rban who steals from his own nation. yes, the answer is a very strong yes. i need a stronger europe — one that chases criminals also in hungary, no matter how high they are. so, you are determined to see hungaryjoin the euro. you talk about wanting... yes. ..much deeper european integration. are you sure the hungarian people are with you on that? yes, of course. about 80% of hungarians support hungary staying in the european union, becoming... i'm not talking about staying in the european union. i'm talking about joining the euro... euro, as well. ..which means you would have to accept... yes. ..much tougher controls over your economic policy, your fiscal policy. you would have to accept a much tighter control on your budget deficit, for example, which,
according to mr 0rban and his party, would see you, if you were in power, imposing much higher taxes on the hungarian people. well, 0rban already has the highest vat tax probably in the world. 0rban has the highest number of special taxes levied on the banking sector, on retailers and many other businesses. so, yes, we want to keep income taxes low, just like 0rban did, but we also want to be a fairer and a more just system for businesses and private persons, as well. so, no doubt that we will need a stronger discipline on fiscal matters, and that's necessary in order to introduce the euro. and since 0rban, in the last few years, has let this issue go almost uncontrolled, the budget deficit is becoming very high, government debt is increasing, inflation is record high — in the last couple of years, at least. so, yes, we will probably need at least four or five years before we can actually
join the eurozone. see, it seems to me that your proposals for hungary's future fly in the face of all the evidence of what the hungarian people want — evidence based on the last 12 years or so of 0rban rule in your country. he has been consistently sceptical about the european union. he loves the structural funds that come your way, but he refuses to bow to every edict that comes from brussels, and that appears to be an approach to the european union that the hungarian people like. 0rban, after all, has won election after election after election. you now say you're going to have a fundamentally different approach to europe, and it seems to me there's no evidence that's what the hungarian people want. well, first of all, i do have evidence about
what the hungarian people want, so i have less concerns about that. 0rban has... and just show you, of course, there are different analyses. we have all kinds of research already conducted on this issue. no doubt that 0rban identifies himself a lot, and he likes to identify himself with hungary. when he says that, for example, joining the european public prosecutor's office is limiting hungarian sovereignty, what he really means — it is a limit on criminals�* sovereignty, it is a limitation on his own sovereignty, but definitely not on hungary's sovereignty. what i believe is that the hungarian people actually prefer the euro, prefer the european public prosecutor's office, even, prefer a fight against corruption as opposed to 0rban's hate crimes, you know, these 0rban—conducted hate campaigns. and that's how he maintains his corrupt power. it's not by fulfilling, in every detail, all the wishes of the hungarian population. well, you can show me all the graphs and paperwork
you like, but the plain reality is that 0rban's fidesz party has, what, 133 or so seats in the parliament, and all six of the opposition parties that have joined the united front against him, they can muster onlyjust over 50 mps. so, we know that, electorally speaking, fidesz and 0rban are extremely popular in hungary, and the problem you have is that you don't even have a meaningful political party. you personally have a movement called, what, everyone�*s hungary? it's not even clear that your movement is going to be represented in the next parliament, even if you're the candidate for prime minister. and we know that the socialists, the social democrats, the greens, the liberals, have agendas which are very different from yours. so, even if you were to topple 0rban, there's no guarantee, thanks to the parliamentary system, that you would become
the next prime minister. well, you know, it's also a political suicide, after winning a primary election with 371,000 votes, which is higher than the strongest current opposition party received at national elections four years ago. you know, toppling a... ..publicly selected prime minister, a candidate, would be a political suicide, so i'm pretty much... i'm pretty sure that political parties would stand behind me. also, of course, you know, ialso... hang on. you're pretty sure, you say... yes. ..that the parties would stand behind you? we know, for example, that the leader of the dk party has already said, "well, we'll wait and see. "the parliament will decide "after the election who should be prime minister." he's not giving you a guarantee at all, is he? no, but, you know, it's
different, what he says, especially to his own constituency, and it's also different what the political reality is. political reality is that, again, just consider this — after winning a primary election, you know, that would be a political suicide, like i said, to go against the will of the people. so, first of all, we are ready to cooperate, we are ready to put aside our differences, and these differences are not even that strong. you know, just consider that, as a conservative, i already declared that, you know, we would all support same—sex marriage. you know, that is kind of a surprise. and i could go on and on. the euro has been refused by some of these political parties, but now it's accepted by all. so, we have now, after all the primary debates, we have much stronger cohesion in the oppositionjoint programme than ever before. and this programme, yes, it does include green elements, liberal elements, social democratic values, and conservative values, but it has become something of a freedom fight. we just want to return... we want hungary to return
to democracy, to freedom of the press, the rule of law, and this is something that is more important. liberty is more important than what sets us apart... how can i take seriously... ..what differentiates. ..your pledge that all you want is freedom for hungary, when, in fact, one of the parties in your coalition, the united 0pposition, isjobbik? now, we knowjobbik very well from the statements over the last few years of some of its key members. they've called the roma people "deviants". they've argued jews are security risks. in a recent midterm election, one of their candidates referred to budapest as "jewdapest" and made vile, racist comments about ultra—0rthodoxjews in hungary. you are now telling the hungarian people, including, presumably, hungarian jews, that, in certain constituencies, they should vote forjobbik. absolutely, and i was also the first candidate... well, i wasn't the candidate, i was an elected mayor already,
when the head of the local jewish community who... unfortunately, he passed away last year, but he was a great friend of mine. you know, he represented me at court cases for free. so, he supported me. he even campaigned for thejobbik candidate at my request. so, yes, it's a true representation of the unification of the opposition that we need. also, just... i want to end with one big question facing you. if you are successful with the united 0pposition, and you topple mr 0rban in the spring election, what's going to happen in hungary? as i said at the very beginning, 0rban's grip on power isn'tjust about fidesz in the parliament. it's about key levers of power in the economy, in the media, throughout hungarian society. some hungarians predict massive instability if you win because you've talked about regime change, you've talked about rooting out every level of pro—fidesz corruption in hungary.
your country could be destabilised. not just pro—fidesz corruption. all corruption. and do we expect to see instability, maybe even violence in the streets of hungary? 0rban is also considering these solutions, and we will not accept. just because of this threat — this sometimes openly—phrased threat — we are not backing down from our expectations. we still want hungary to get rid of corruption in all forms, by all sides. so, we don't care if it's opposition or fidesz, we don't care if it's pre— or after 2010, left or right, corruption is corruption. corruption is a crime. corruption is the biggest crime against society. so, that's one of the key elements that we have to change. also, as you mentioned, the so—called deep state. fidesz has occupied all sorts of areas in hungarian life — media, economic sector, judiciary. if we don't get rid
of intimidation and corruption in all of these institutions, we don't get back some of the state property that was stolen by fidesz, then fidesz will still remain in power, although the opposition might win the elections. so, we don't acceptjust a government change. we really need a system change. we want to join the european public prosecutor's office and prosecute all criminals. peter marki—zay, we have to end there. i thank you very much indeed forjoining me on hardtalk. thank you very much.
hello there. later this week, not only is there potential for some more disruptive weather heading our way, but something much colder, as well. wednesday starts off on a chilly note with a bit of frost in places, but some mist and dense fog patches possible across parts of england and wales — the winds have been lightest through the night. a bit more of a breeze through scotland and northern ireland to get under way, and some wet weather for the morning rush hour — this weather front here, a cold front, will bring the first run of colder air further and further southwards as we go through the next 2a hours. in the southern half of the country, a bit of a chill, temperatures not rising much — we still have light winds and a relatively quiet day, lots of mist and fog around. the morning rain, though, across scotland and northern ireland is replaced by sunshine and scattered showers, some heavy with hail, turning wintry in the far north of scotland, particularly on the hills. but turning wetter later on, northwest england, north and west wales as that cold front slowly makes its way southwards and eastwards. a little bit of patchy rain and drizzle to the south and east, we'll see some wetter conditions here through wednesday night. at the same time, very windy through wednesday
night into thursday, and the far north of scotland seeing gusts of wind 50—60 mph — and that'll bring colder air, a very cold thursday morning commute, but a bright, crisp one for many — really good visibility, sunshine for the most part. some showers around the western and eastern coasts, but most of the showers will be in the north of scotland, where snow could even come down to sea level later, and an added wind—chill to go with what will be a cool day. and then things turn much more disturbed — through thursday into friday, particularly friday night and saturday, this area of low pressure transferring its way southwards. cold air wrapped around it, which means a greater chance of things turning to snow for some, but it's the winds which could be the key feature. even on friday, the winds really starting to pick up — outbreaks of rain initially pushing southwards and eastwards, but the showers that follow in its wake will turn increasingly wintry — over the hills for many, but even to lower levels in the northern half of scotland, and it will be a cold day. but through friday night into saturday, as our low pressure transfers its way southwards, we could see gales, if not severe gales develop along
that weather system, working its way south and, as i said, there could be a bit of snow mixed in, too. and that will take us into saturday, as well. now those strong winds could be a problem in some parts, we could see damaging gusts of wind, some travel disruption around to take us into the weekend. even if you don't see those damaging winds — widespread gales and, as i said, that risk of rain and snow, too. see you soon.
this is bbc news: i'm sally bundock with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. nasa prepares fo lift off on its mission to save the earth from dangerous asteroids. the 50 million barrel gamble, joe biden releases huge reserves of us oil as he seeks to bring down soaring energy and gasoline prices. some polish regions back—track on their rejection of lgbt values after pressure from the eu. and showing how he worked it out, a rare einstein manuscript formulating his general theory of relativity sells at auction for over $13 million.