On Thursday in his office in Budapest, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had talks with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki regarding the issue of the EU budget and the crisis management fund. The two prime ministers signed a joint declaration from which Mr Orbán drew attention to the pledge that Hungary will not accept any proposal that is not acceptable for Poland.
At a joint press conference, Mr Orbán said since the summit held in July, the EU had failed to harmonise the different approaches of Member States to the issues of crisis management, the next seven-year budget and the draft legislation designed to protect the EU’s financial interests. The proposal which seeks to tie the urgent financial issue of crisis management to the debate about the rule of law – which is no longer a legal debate, but a clearly political one – is still on the agenda, he stated.
However, in its content the proposal now before us, the Prime Minister continued, which seeks to address the economic crisis and the EU’s financial interests together with issues related to the rule of law is not acceptable for Hungary.
He quoted from the joint declaration he signed together with the Polish Prime Minister, laying down that Hungary will not accept any proposal that is not acceptable for Poland.
“Meaning that – as not unprecedented in history – we will again battle through the next few months together,” he said.
The Prime Minister also mentioned that the states that seek to put pressure on us and their media want to create the impression that the Hungarian veto is something evil.
In this regard, he said the veto is a lawful instrument, a right provided by the Treaties of the EU which can be exercised when a country feels that its vital, fundamental interests would be violated in the event of the adoption of a decision.
The Prime Minister said for him it is not only a possibility afforded by EU law, but a patriotic duty to foil a decision that violates or is contrary to the Hungarian people’s interests.
The proposal on the table right now serves not the rule of law, but the rule of the majority, and as Hungary has debates with other Member States of the EU about a number of fundamental issues, primarily about the issues of migration and national sovereignty, but also about gender issues, he cannot expose Hungary to the risk of anyone forcing upon Hungary positions – with a simple majority – which the Hungarian people are unable to accept, Mr Orbán said, stressing that this is why he must exercise the veto.
He also said any journalist, lawyer or politician who believes this is a financial issue is wrong as this debate cannot be resolved with money. In particular because, in actual fact, the EU wants to raise the funds that are necessary for managing the crisis caused by the pandemic in Europe through borrowing, he observed, adding that additionally joint borrowing conveys the risk that if another Member State is unable to repay its debt, then the Hungarians will also have to pay back the part of the debt that falls on them.
In his view, should the European crisis management fund fall through, Hungary would not incur any financial loss as a result as this fund is necessary primarily not because of Hungary, but because of states where the sovereign debt is above one hundred per cent of the gross domestic product, “while ours is well below this level”.
Outlining the Hungarian position, the Prime Minister said the political debate about the rule of law and the urgent economic issue of crisis management cannot be connected together. Anyone who ties these two issues together is irresponsible because at a time of crisis swift economic decisions are required, he stated.
He further stressed that creating legal rules related to the rule of law is not necessary for the management of the crisis, and this issue was only tabled now because the European Parliament and some states decided that they wanted to settle these two issues at once.
By contrast, the Hungarian and Polish votes necessary for the budget are legally indispensable and unavoidable, and “we will negotiate during the period ahead in light of this,” Mr Orbán said concluding his press statement.