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Nov 26, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

PM Orbán: This debate is not about money

After his one-day visit to Hungary, Polish Prime Minister Mateus Morawiecki and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán addressed a joint press conference on the Hungarian-Polish veto on the Multiannual Financial Framework of the European Union and the Next Generation recovery fund. The two heads of government also signed a common statement on their position.

“Whether in good times or bad, it’s always good to meet the Poles,” PM Viktor Orbán began his remarks, adding that besides discussing topics such as the independence and sovereignty of our homelands, the most important question on the agenda was the “great debate, which is taking place between the European Parliament, the Commission, [other member states] governments and us.”

The Hungarian prime minister recalled that the EU summit in July witnessed one of the longest and sharpest debates in EU history, where member states were not able to close the debate, but we gave an opportunity to the Germany presidency to produce some cohesion among the member states on the topics of migration, the EU budget, and rule of law; but it did not happen.

“The proposal remains on the table, which would tie crisis funds to rule of law criteria, and this is not legal, but political in nature; and this proposal, from Hungary’s position, is not acceptable,” PM Orbán said adding that “the Hungarian and Polish governments were able to put together a joint statement of which I would like to share the final sentence: We will unify our principles and our interests on this question; Hungary will not accept a proposal that is not acceptable to Poland.”

Viktor Orbán also emphasized that the veto was not some unappropriated action from the two countries, but a legal tool provided by the Treaties. “In a case where a member state feels that its essential interests are being harmed in a particular question, it allows for the use of the veto,” he said. The PM added, “My responsibility as a patriot also obliges me, that if I see that a decision is against the interests of Hungary, I must do that [exercise the veto].”

The prime minister also drew attention to the fact that this debate is not a matter of money, it is not a financial issue. “This debate cannot be sorted out with money,” he said adding that “Hungary faces no financial loss if the European crisis management budget does not come together. This is a concern for member states where their public indebtedness is above 100 percent.”

PM Orbán closed his remarks by recalling, “Legislation on the rule of law is not necessary for crisis management […] Our votes for the budget are indispensable and unavoidable.”