Diplomacy / We must tidy up in Brussels 

We must tidy up in Brussels 

We must tidy up in Brussels, the EP elections will be a good opportunity to do so, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a Christmas interview given to Mediaworks.

The Prime Minister said the stakes will be higher than ever before in the upcoming European parliamentary elections. In the past few years, the European Union has continually weakened, has lost ground in the world economy, has been unable to get back on its feet regarding the creation of self-defence capabilities, and has proved to be unable to adequately handle the conflicts that broke out in its vicinity in accordance with its own interests, he said. He added that in the meantime this weakening and loss of ground had continued year after year, and the EU had even lost the ability to face these problems, to look into itself and to improve its policies. This is due to the fact that Washington and the Soros Empire, not the Member States or the European people dictate to the Brussels bureaucrats. This is bad for Europe, this must be changed, the Prime Minister pointed out. 

Regarding the proceedings of the Brussels EU summit concerned with the commencement of Ukraine’s accession talks, he said given that in a debate lasting for eight hours he did not succeed in convincing the other Member States that this was a bad decision, the only question that remained was whether the twenty-six would succeed in imposing their will on him, or rather on Hungary. There was only one possible answer to this, that we would not take part in the decision, he argued. They may be more and are unable to accept our position, but we are unable to accept theirs, Mr Orbán highlighted. He stressed that he had persevered with the Hungarian position, because theirs was a flawed decision, “this is not on our conscience.” 

In answer to the question of whether he ever started wondering whether he might be wrong, he said Hungarian politics now has the ability to assess its own position continuously. He pointed out that this was just what he had done for eight hours. “Yes, it did make me wonder whether I was going against the flow of the traffic,” but “I was compelled to conclude firmly that they were.” Each and every argument that Hungary stood for and presented stands its ground, the Prime Minister stated, reiterating that this is not a new situation, this is exactly what happened regarding the issue of migration. 

He pointed out that while talks had not even begun yet, we were already compelled to face serious economic troubles in two areas. There is a problem with Ukrainian grain which is causing Hungarian farmers serious losses, and we must stop Ukrainian trucks at the borders of Hungary, Poland and Slovakia because otherwise they will destroy the hauliers of these countries, he laid down. 

The Prime Minister said it is a problem that no assessment of any kind preceded the decision on the commencement of accession talks. What consequences would this have for French, German, Hungarian farmers, small businesses, traders, hauliers, and on almost all cross sections of the economy? he asked. 

It is true that accession is a longer process, and every Member State has “around seventy opportunities” to slow down or to stop this process, but this decision in itself means that twenty-six countries would like Ukraine to become a member of the European Union and want to conduct meaningful talks about this, he said. They are doing so while it is unclear where Ukraine’s borders lie – not under international law, but its actual geographical borders – and how many people live in it, he pointed out. He said another open question is whether the territory which is currently under the occupation of the Russian army will also become a part of the EU. There are no answers to fundamental questions because many believed that at this point in time it was a mere political gesture, a geopolitical decision, he stated. 

Regarding the provision of funding for Ukraine and the enlargement of the EU budget, he took the view that if 50 billion euros is given to Kiev from the EU budget, this could also mean that they give them the money of the Hungarians. Given that at present there is not this much money in the EU’s budget, it must be raised from somewhere, Mr Orbán argued. There are two options for this; one is joint borrowing, but Hungary has negative experiences regarding the joint borrowing attached to the Recovery Facility that was set up due to Covid, and so we will not consent to anything like this ever again, he stated. If, however, the money is not raised from a loan, it means that funds must be reallocated from the already existing chapters of the budget, and this could also affect the money of the Hungarians, he said, outlining the other option. He pointed out that he could not accept the idea of giving the Hungarian people’s money to Ukraine. 

In the interview, he was asked whether he was concerned that his voters were becoming fed up with the EU. His answer was that he accepted this as a natural fact. “I, too, am utterly fed up with Brussels,” the only question is what conclusions we draw from the situation, Mr Orbán said. His own conclusion is that “we should try to go ever further in, we should occupy positions, we should gather allies, and we should mend the European Union.” It is not enough to feel angry, we must occupy Brussels, the Prime Minister laid down. 

In answer to the question of whether it would be right to provide financial assistance for Ukraine because it is an important neighbour of ours which was attacked by Russia and is now fighting for its very existence, Mr Orbán said this is a legitimate suggestion which the Hungarian Parliament will have to consider. Today, all we can say is that those who want to give money to Ukraine should do so outside the EU’s budget, rather than distribute our money, he underlined.

Regarding Hungarian-Ukrainian relations which have been poor for years now, Mr Orbán said he thought this question through many times, and his firm position is that Hungary is not in any way responsible for the deterioration of relations. Relations started deteriorating in 2015 when the Ukrainians cancelled the law which guaranteed the survival of the Hungarian minority as a national community, he added. 

He stressed that the Hungarians who had been born and had always live in Transcarpathia had lived in a state of disenfranchisement for eight years. This is a Hungarian national community of 1,100 years, they were deprived of their rights in 2015, including their cultural rights, the right of children to education in their mother tongue, and also the wider right of language usage, he pointed out. Ukraine must remedy this, must restore the law that they cancelled, and must give back the rights that they took away. Once this has happened, relations could start improving, he stated. 

In the interview, he was also asked about the fact that the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union had come to an agreement on the EU migration pact. Mr Orbán said here, too, a promise has been broken because they agreed earlier to only adopt a unanimous decision on this issue, but “they broke this promise,” and decided as they did despite Hungary and Poland’s protestation.

This pact is bad, there is only one solution to migration, everything else is bound to fail, he stated. The key to the solution lies in where the migrants who want to come to our countries should stay until the assessment of their entry requests, he added. He pointed out that if a migrant was allowed to enter the EU and to wait there, then “it’s all over, they will stay,” meaning that they must be kept outside. The Hungarian law – due to which the EU is now suing the country – lays down that migrants must await the assessment of their applications outside the territory of the country, and are only allowed to enter if they have a positive decision. In his words, he has been trying to make the other countries understand this for eight years in vain. In actual fact, they do not want to stop migration, “ but – as they say – they want to manage it.” 

The situation will be that Hungary will not implement Brussels’ instructions, said the Prime Minister. As we will not implement them, we will face legal proceedings in which we will prove that the EU regulation that we should let in people whose cases we had not previously assessed and should take over migrants let in by other countries is contrary to Hungary’s Constitution because this could change the composition of the country’s population, the Prime Minister pointed out. 

Regarding the economy’s performance this year, in the interview Mr Orbán said we must talk about not one year, but four. It all started with Covid, and just when we were beginning to recover from Covid, the war came which brought with it an enormous rise in energy prices. The negative effect was then multiplied by the policy of sanctions which the European Commission introduced, and as a result, inflation rose sky-high. Ever since the spring of 2020, the outbreak of the Covid pandemic all the way until the end of this year, our goal has been merely to stay alive, Mr Orbán said.

He believes that we have succeeded in this endeavour, and while we have a very difficult period behind us, Hungary has managed to improve its state of health enough to make sure that 2024 will be a year of a different nature than that of the years we have left behind us. The 2023 goal to reduce inflation to below ten per cent has already been accomplished. In actual fact, it could fall to below seven per cent by the end of the year, and for next year we set the goal of a level of around five per cent. In ordinary language this means that in 2023 we have struggled – not only the government, but the whole country – to not lose that which we had previously achieved, to protect that which we already have. However, in 2024 we will be able to work towards Hungary taking a step forward, he highlighted. He stressed that therefore the character of next year will be completely different from that of this year, and he would like families to return to the focus again.

The objective of the sovereignty legislation is to prevent the manipulation of Hungarian politics with money coming from abroad, the Prime Minister said. We have a fundamental law and a legal system that guarantee national independence, but at the latest elections, we found – as the Left itself admitted – that this system was not hermetically sealed because attempts were made to influence the will of the Hungarian electorate with millions of dollars coming from abroad, he added. A national government, a country striving for sovereignty has no choice but to close these loopholes and “to lock the door tightly,” this is the purpose of the law, he pointed out. He made it clear that it was the constitutional, moral and historical duty of a parliamentary majority to prevent any political actor from betraying their own country for money, and to punish them.

At the end of the interview he spoke about the fact that, in his view, the years that we have left behind us – when we conquered the various crises and took control of the threats – have strengthened our self-confidence and self-esteem. We are a talented and diligent nation which is able to conquer troubles, a community which even in the most difficult periods never gives up hope that better times will come, he stated. If you fight for good causes, you may encounter difficulties, but if you persevere with your position and fulfil your duty to the best of your abilities, in the end things will surely take a turn for the better, the Prime Minister said in conclusion. 


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