"Germany and the Visegrád states will be Europe’s determining economic axis" - PM Viktor Orbán

Monday, January 15, 2018

Photo: Balázs Szecsődi

In an interview published in the conservative German Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán among others has said: the Government of Hungary wants an EU with a parliament of limited powers, with “a strong Council” of heads of government, and with a “Commission which, rather than making policies, should remain the guardian of the Treaties”.

He added that he wishes the Government of Warsaw strength and patience in its disputes with Brussels.

Mr. Orbán also said that there is a “mutual lack of understanding” between the East and the West concerning the issue of liberal democracy and the rule of law: Hungarians speak a “traditional and direct language”, while in the West they perceive themselves as being post-national and post-Christian, calling this “liberal” and “the rule of law”.

“We do not want this”, Mr. Orbán declared, adding that “We want our national and Christian identity”.

Regarding his relationship with Vladimir Putin, Mr. Orbán said that in order to be considered a good European, “one must call the Russian president the devil”, yet it is “foolish to demonise Mr. Putin”. We must acknowledge that he has made his country strong, and a player in world politics again, the Prime Minister said, yet the EU still fails to comprehend that “both strength and willingness to cooperate should be demonstrated towards Russia”. Europe’s policy on Russia, he added, is “bad, because it is too one-sided”.

Concerning his attitude to Germany, the Prime Minister emphasised that he has always respected the chancellor of the day, “even if at present this respect is not reciprocated”.

However, he stated that “most of us still have a lot to thank Angela Merkel for”, because “she prevented efforts which might have destroyed Europe economically”, by making “negligent” EU countries put their houses in order.

Speaking about non-governmental organisations, Mr. Orbán said that the new Hungarian legislation on their operation is based on an American model. Only organisations related to the Soros network are complaining, he added, because now they must disclose what they had preferred to conceal: that they are being financed by George Soros.

The Soros network is seeking to dismantle the border fence and change immigration policies, Mr. Orbán said, “and this is a kind of border violation which we cannot tolerate”.

Asked about the state of the media, Mr. Orbán said that the work of journalists critical of the Government is not hindered in any way, and that there are at least as many media outlets critical of the Government as those that support it. The problem, he said, is that the “opposition is weak, and this is frustrating for leftist journalists”.

Regarding the issue of employment in the EU, he pointed out that he welcomes young people gaining experience abroad, although it is important for them to one day come back. In this respect 2017 was reassuring, he said.

Mr. Orbán highlighted that Hungarian economic growth is in the interest of Europe, adding that “now many people may smile when I say that Germany and the Visegrád states will be Europe’s determining economic axis, yet from 2030 we will be financing the EU budget, together with Germany”.

(MTI - edited by


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