Aug 31, 2016

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s statement before the meeting of the Visegrád Four heads of government and the Chancellor of Germany [full text in English]

August 26, 2016, Warsaw (Warszawa)

Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen.

We would like to thank the Prime Minister of Poland for her invitation. This is a strange situation, because we are holding a press conference before the talks, and naturally we cannot give an account of the outcome of our meeting. I can tell you what the Hungarian position is at the start of the talks today.

In terms of appraising of the situation, the Hungarian position fully coincides with what Beata Szydłó has just said. We also believe that Britain’s withdrawal is not a cause but a result: it is not the cause of the situation within Europe, but a consequence of that situation. We think that we need to cope with two problems at the same time. The first is that in almost every dimension the European Union has lost its ability to adapt: we were unable to draw the right conclusions from the financial crisis; we have no adequate response to terrorism; and likewise we have no effective answers to the foreign policy issues that are relevant to the EU – Ukraine, for example. The second problem that we are struggling with is that we no longer observe even our existing rules: we do not observe our rules on the protection of our borders and the Schengen Area; we do not observe our existing rules on fiscal discipline; and we likewise fail to observe our rules on the operation of our financial institutions.

What is Hungary proposing? Our first proposal is that we should continue to maintain a European economic policy based on strict fiscal discipline, structural reforms and economic stability. I know that many wish to make this policy less strict, and want something else, but Hungary managed to overcome the crisis with this strict fiscal policy, and has become an economic success story – so we propose the maintenance of this policy. Our second proposal is that the issue of security should be assigned a higher priority – indeed the highest priority; and in this regard we should begin the establishment of a joint European army. Our third proposal is that the European institutions should return to their original missions: the European Council should lead the European Union, and the European Commission should stop playing a political role and should revert to its function as laid down in the Treaties. The European Commission is not a political actor, but the Guardian of the Treaties, whose function is to help us avoid the application of double standards within the EU. Our fourth proposal on common policies is that we should retain the old, tried and tested policies – the cohesion policy and the common agricultural policy; we should also create the necessary new policies – particularly related to digitalisation – and we should raise these to a higher level. And there are areas which we should not try to integrate into common policies at all – such as migration and social affairs. Finally one last question remains: what is the position of the Hungarian people? Do we need to revise the Treaties of the European Union? Our answer to this question is that we can only decide at a later stage in the debates and negotiations.

Thank you for your attention.