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Europe is in trouble

In Europe, we find it hard to understand that – in contrast to the United States and China – we are unable to radically change the rules of the game, we are not game changers, the Hungarian prime minister pointed out. According to Mr Orbán, the reason for this is that there is no common European army and attached scientific and innovative centres which could act as engines of technological development. Our current position and the consequences that arise therefrom have yet to be clarified, he added.

In answer to a question, the Prime Minister said in Hungary there is a struggle for intellectual sovereignty. We are fighting to enforce our Christian democratic-conservative approach to democracy against liberal views. We are fighting so we would have not just a single concept which must be accepted by everyone regarding European institutions and politics, and to have a chance to conduct debates about concepts such as family, nation, cultural traditions, religion and migration, he explained. The Prime Minister underlined that Hungarian democracy is at least as good as German or Italian democracy, and fully complies with the European requirements of democracy.

In a closing observation, Mr Orbán pointed out that solidarity means common success, but we “cannot be successful together if we are not successful one by one”. The economic and political success of nations is not something contrary to a common European success, but a pre-condition and a building block of it, the Prime Minister added.

According to Mr Orbán, the pledge of the European Union’s future success lies in the development of a common military and defence capability, the enlargement of the EU through the accession of Serbia, and the establishment of a competitive economy.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki took the view that Central Europe has recently been at the centre of attacks because it is on the rise, and its competitiveness is increasing ever further.

Central European countries must show unity and solidarity whilst not losing sight of the fact that they form part of the European Union, he added. Mr Morawiecki stressed that the Central European position which is so different from that of the rest of Europe does not mean “that we are against the others; we have our own problems, and we must deal with those primarily”.

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic found it objectionable that there are double standards between the Western part of the European Union and the rest.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis stressed that the European Union is responding to challenges too slowly, and this also manifested itself in the management of the coronavirus epidemic.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said the world had failed during the management of the coronavirus epidemic, Member States had not shown solidarity, had been utterly unprepared for the pandemic, and everyone had tried to save their own skins above all.

According to Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, one of the greatest tasks will be to strike a balance between national and European responses by the time the second wave of the pandemic starts.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he sincerely hopes that in the future the European Union will come closer to citizens. The EU cannot remain an elitist utopia, and must be able to satisfy citizens’ needs, he observed.

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva highlighted that in recent months unprecedented responses had been given to an unprecedented crisis, in consequence of which 170 countries would close the year poorer than they had been at the beginning of 2020. Ms. Georgieva observed that we had managed to underpin the world economy with mutual efforts and through the enhancement of liquidity. If this had not happened, that would have led to mass state bankruptcies and a much higher rate of unemployment than observed at present.

President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach stressed in his video message that the Olympic values of excellency, friendship, respect and solidarity could provide a good basis in the post-coronavirus world.

The central topics of this year’s international conference included the challenges and opportunities Europe is facing, primarily in the light of the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit. The forum was attended by the heads of state and government and foreign ministers of a number of countries.