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Hungary stands by Poland

Mr Orbán said in answer to a question concerning the procedure under Article 7 of the EU founding treaties that Poland has suffered an injustice. He took the view that Hungary standing by Poland is not just an issue of Polish-Hungarian friendship, but also a Central European interest.

If they do something regarding Poland today they may do the same regarding another tomorrow, he explained.

The dispute between Brussels and Warsaw is about the fact that in recent years our region “has become a significant player on the European scene”, the Prime Minister stressed.

The countries of Central Europe expect to have at least as much control over common European affairs as warranted by their contribution to Europe’s economic growth, Mr Orbán stated. The V4 countries are playing a stabilising role in Europe, and without us the European economy would be much weaker, he added.

The Prime Minister believes the EU-Polish dispute is about how Western Member States, which regard themselves as more advanced, relate to the new situation that the centre of the EU has shifted towards the East: European politics once relied on German-French cooperation, while now there is also German-V4 cooperation. Another reason for the action taken against Poland is that these countries have not yet come to terms with this new situation, the Hungarian Prime Minister stated.

He observed regarding the disputes within the EU that negotiations must continue even if there is little chance of coming to an agreement, he stressed. At the same time, there is no doubt that the 28 Member States of the EU do not perceive the world in the same light. While some Member States, primarily in the West, would like to enter a post-Christian or post-national era, we hold on to our roots. This is why we have a different approach to immigration as well, he said.

The question is whether we can exist within a single community if we see the world in such vastly different ways. I think we can, the Prime Minister asserted.

We want a strong Europe, but we must respect one another’s opinions. We do not seek to convince people in the West, so they should also allow us to remain Christian, Polish and Hungarian, Mr Orbán stressed.

The EU budget cannot be connected to any procedure related to the rule of law under any circumstances, he said in answer to a question relating to the next EU multiannual financial framework.

The Prime Minister stated: Central European countries do not beg. A significant percentage of the money channelled to our region via the Cohesion Fund is returned to those who gave that money in the first place. Everyone benefits from the cohesion policy. Both those who provide the funds and those who use them. This is equally a German and French interest, they make money from us, he said.

There is also untapped potential in Polish-Hungarian cooperation, and for this we only have ourselves to blame, he stressed.

Trade cooperation is making good progress. But as regards infrastructure projects, we have shortfalls on an historic scale, he added. The travel time on the railway line between Warsaw and Budapest must be halved, a motorway must be built, and we need developments in the energy sector, he listed. He described the construction of a gas conveyance pipeline which provides access to the liquefied natural gas terminal in Poland as crucial from Hungary’s point of view.

In answer to a question regarding migration, the Prime Minister stated that Hungary will protect its southern borders also in the future. Without its borders, Hungary would be like an egg without its shell.

The Hungarian borders are at the same time the borders of the whole of Europe, he added. We sometimes have the feeling as if somebody was stabbing us in the back while we protect the whole of Europe, Mr Orbán said in response to EU criticisms in the interview he gave to the Polish public service television channel.