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Jun 12, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán at V4 summit: It’s morally unacceptable that rich countries would receive more from the EU recovery fund

Speaking at a Visegrád Four summit in Prague yesterday, Prime Minister Orbán said that although it goes directly against Hungarians’ philosophical convictions about money, an extraordinary situation requires an extraordinary solution. Hungary is therefore willing to accept and welcome the initiative to jointly take out loans at the EU level.

 
 

At a V4 summit in Prague yesterday, Prime Minister Orbán said that, looking at how they handled the coronavirus, the prime ministers of the Visegrád states are all from very successful countries. “We have saved many tens of thousands of lives. And today we came together to discuss how we will save many hundreds of thousands of jobs,” PM Orbán said.

On the EU’s plan to take out loans through the use of perpetual bonds and create a joint recovery fund, the prime minister said that “the whole idea of what is called ‘the New Generation’ is philosophically very far from what Hungarians think of the world.” He explained that Hungarians think that money must first be earned before it is spent; if anyone wants to reverse this order – if they want a loan and want to spend it, and only then work for it – then they should only do so at their own risk.

Still, even though it is against our nature, the PM said, “our attitude towards this European proposal is positive because we understand the intention behind it: In an extraordinary situation, an extraordinary solution is needed.” At the same time, according to PM Orbán, the proposal needs to be improved in three respects.

First, “it must be stripped of its absurd elements,” such as the practice of rich countries getting more from the joint recovery fund than poorer countries, a concept the Hungarian prime minister called “morally unacceptable.” Secondly, there is a need for flexibility in the use of funds because money is needed for different purposes in the North, in the South, in the West and in Central Europe, the PM said. “And the third aspect that we think needs to change is the question of rebates: Wealthy countries would be repaid a special amount of their contributions,” PM Orbán concluded.

All in all, Hungary wants to see the construction of a fair economic relaunch package, one where Hungary doesn’t get 30 percent less than, say, Portugal, a country that’s comparable in terms of both territory and population.