PM Viktor Orbán and his entourage stayed in one of Vienna’s most expensive hotels, but did not reveal the price
At the end of July, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was accompanied by 3 of his ministers – Gergely Gulyás (Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office), Márton Nagy (Minister for economic development) and Péter Szijjártó (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade) – and a large staff to Vienna, where he met Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer. According to Azonnali.hu, the approximately 40-member delegation not only drove to Vienna for the official programme, but also slept there on the day of the meeting – in one of the most expensive hotels in the Austrian capital. Olga Kálmán, a former TV presenter and now a MP of opposition party DK, asked the Foreign Minister about the cost of the trip, but only received an answer stressing the importance of the negotiations.
On 23 July, the Hungarian prime minister had praised what he called the „unmixed Hungarian race” in Tusványos. and his next trip abroad took him to Vienna, where he explained his racist rhetoric by saying that „I can sometimes express myself in a way that can be misunderstood”. In the Austrian capital, Orbán discussed the Russian-Ukrainian war, the European energy crisis and illegal migration with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer. What was „left out” of the official report, however, was that he was accompanied by a huge staff, and that the large Hungarian delegation stayed in one of Vienna’s most expensive hotels.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán met with Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who heads the Austrian government, on 28 July, before the €141 thousand flight to the US. According to a report on the government website, Orbán said:
„When times are easy, friendship is easy; when times are hard, it is harder”. Times are hard now, and the question is whether the special historic friendship between the two nations will help on issues of war, migration, energy and economic cooperation. After the talks, it is clear that „we can count on Austria in the years to come”, and vice versa.
What was left out of the official statement was reported by Azonnali.hu, which said that the Austrians were shocked by the huge staff that Viktor Orban had travelled with.
About 40 people accompanied the Prime Minister
It is clear from the photo published by the Prime Minister’s Press Office that Orbán was accompanied by Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás, Minister of Economic Development Márton Nagy, Minister of State for EU Affairs János Bóka, and Balázs Orbán, the Prime Minister’s Political Director. According to Azonnali, the Prime Minister was accompanied by a staff of 25 people, plus Szijjártó, who also took about 10 people, making the total number of the delegation around 40.
According to a source in Vienna who spoke to Azonnali, the Austrians were surprised by the large number of people accompanying Viktor Orbán, and they were not impressed by the fact that the Hungarian delegation was driving around the city in a large number of cars with sirens.
This can be seen in the video below: after the Austrian police motorbikes, there were at least 8 cars with Hungarian plates in convoy, including 2 Mercedes and 2 Volkswagen vans.
As usual, Viktor Orbán arrived by minibus at the Federal Chancellery in Ballhaus Square, where he was met by Chancellor Karl Nehammer and a military guard of honour. A photographer from the Austrian news portal Heute (“today”) captured the moment when the Hungarian Prime Minister stepped out of the iconic vehicle.
They stayed in a luxury hotel
According to Azonnali, the meeting was rather short: Viktor Orbán held a half-hour of one-on-one talks with Karl Nehammer, during which time bilateral meetings were organised for the ministers and Balázs Orbán, followed by a half-hour plenary session and finally a one-hour lunch. In other words, the official programme lasted 2 hours in total, 3 hours maximum including breaks, and it was over quickly, and Vienna is not far from Budapest, but the Orbáns did not come home straight away, but
the delegation spent the night in one of the most expensive hotels in Vienna, the Bristol.
The hotel is part of the Mariott chain in the city centre, and is opposite the famous Vienna Opera House, many of whose rooms have a magnificent view. Booked for 1 night on the hotel’s website
- the cheapest room is €375 (HUF 150,000),
- the cheapest suite, the Opera, is €1042 (HUF 416,800),
- the most expensive, the Prince of Wales Presidential Suite, is €6,000 (HUF 2.4 million).
Secrecy over the costs
After the article was published, MP Olga Kálmán (from opposition party DK) aked the Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó how much Viktor Orbán’s “shakedown in Vienna” cost taxpayers, and whether they are willing to make the invoices for the trip public.
State Secretary Tamás Menczer responded on Szijjártó’s behalf, but did not answer the two simple questions. He only explained what was discussed at the meeting (war, peace, immigration) and how important Austria is as a partner. Menczer also said that the talks had lasted „about 4 hours in total”, followed by a working lunch „in accordance with diplomatic custom”.
According to Azonnali, Viktor Orbán slept in one of the Bristol’s suites, and if it was the presidential one, it only cost taxpayers nearly HUF 2.5 million (€6200). If the 3 ministers stayed in 1-1 ordinary suite, it cost 400,000 each, for a total of 1.2 million forints (around €3000).
Plus the staff of 40 in the simplest way, divided into 20 double rooms, means an additional HUF 3 million (20 x 150,000). That is a total of HUF 6.7 million per night (around €16600), but the amount could obviously be much higher, as the delegation was allocated the smoothest possible room allocation.
Although Tamás Menczer did not even mention Bristol in his parliamentary answer, the Heute video confirms the information that the Hungarian delegation stayed there, as it shows a large number of police officers and several cars with flashers in front of the luxury hotel.
The trip to Vienna was after the HUF 57 million US flight
Azonnali’s source told the paper that the Hungarian delegation’s visit seemed to him more like a pleasure trip than a working trip, „as if Viktor Orbán wanted to advance his freedom a little”.
The trip to the Austrian capital was on 28 July, and on 1 August the PM and his entourage flew to America aboard with a 607 Falcon. First he went to New York, and the next day he met US President Donald Trump in nearby Bedminster, then flew to Dallas, where he gave a speech on the (far)right CPAC stage on 4 August. He returned home from the US on 5 August, and the next day turned up on holiday in Croatia – where the defence luxury jet was on its way, and where there are strong suspicions he was travelling to the Adriatic, although his press secretary denied this.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán travelled to the United States in early August, where he met former US President Donald Trump and spoke on the stage of CPAC, the annual political conference of conservatives. Viktor Orbán and his entourage were flown to and from the US in a Dassault Falcon 7X aircraft, registration number 607, of the Hungarian Defence Forces.
As aviation expert Mihály Hardy told Átlátszó, the Dassault Falcon 7X aircraft, registration number 607, is extremely expensive to operate, costing nearly 3 million forints an hour. Hardy calculated that the 20-hour Budapest-New York-Dallas-Budapest trip cost the public roughly 57 million forints (€141 thousand). The problem with this is that the trip to the US was more of a private programme than an official trip, as Orban was meeting the former president and attending his party’s event, not conducting Hungary’s business with the current US leadership.
Translated by Zita Szopkó. The original, Hungarian version of this story was written by Katalin Erdélyi and can be found here.
Cover photo. The Prime Minister (r4) next to Andor Nagy, Hungary’s Ambassador to Vienna (r7), Balázs Orbán, Political Director to the Prime Minister (r6), Péter Szijjártó, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (r5), Gergely Gulyás, Minister for the Prime Minister’s Office (r3), Márton Nagy, Minister for Economic Development (r2) and János Bóka, State Secretary for EU Affairs (r). (Photo: MTI/Prime Minister’s Press Office)