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Feb 22, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán on the EU budget: An ambitious Europe needs an ambitious budget

“Right now, we are very far from coming to an agreement. There are two positions. We will continue negotiations sometime in the future,” PM Orbán said following the two-day European Council summit in Brussels on the EU’s upcoming seven-year budget.

Beginning his presser in Brussels this afternoon following the two-day European Council meeting on the EU budget, PM Orbán said that instead of contributing 1 percent of their gross national income (GNI) to the EU budget, as proposed by net contributor countries, the final level of budgetary contributions should be closer to the European Parliament’s proposal of 1.3 percent of GNI. (Read more about Prime Minister Orbán’s vision for the next EU budget here.)

“If we really want to do something in Europe in terms of border control, digitalization, industrial and agricultural policy, cohesion or infrastructure development, then we cannot stop at 1 percent. We need a change, everybody should pay 1.3 percent,” the PM said. According to him, the EU should end the tradition that richer countries pay less in proportion to their GNI than poorer countries.

“If its basis is not fair, then it’s impossible to adopt a stable budget. This is the Hungarian position,” the prime minister said adding that the distance between 1 and 1.3 percent is so big that “there won’t be any agreement today”.

At the same time, the Hungarian PM said, the budgetary debate is also a debate about the future of Europe. “The debate is about how ambitious we want Europe to be. It’s clear that if we want to sustain Europe, then we need an internal market and its two pillars: agricultural support and cohesion policy,” he said calling today’s talks “difficult, but very good”.

The figures need to be in sync with our vision of Europe’s future, because ambitious goals cannot be pursued with the same amount of money that we allocated for these ends in the multiannual financial framework that ends this year. “The EU is facing new challenges. And new tasks require updated resources,” the PM said in closing.