Speaking to representatives of the press earlier today in Brussels, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that Hungary and Poland didn’t simply secure significant funds at the EU summit but also managed to protect their national pride. “All attempts aimed at linking EU funds to rule of law criteria have been repelled,” the prime minister said, adding that the two issues need to be handled separately.
While the Hungarian Government had previously opposed taking on a joint EU loan to remedy the economic damages caused by the coronavirus, according to a resolution passed by the Hungarian Parliament last week and out of solidarity with southern member states, Prime Minister Orbán could support the initiative under certain conditions.
The first condition was that poorer EU countries should receive at least as much money as richer ones. Secondly, funds must only be used to reboot the economy, reignite economic growth and protect and create jobs. The third – and most divisive – condition was that access to common EU money must be depoliticized to ensure that it is not tied to the issue of rule of law.
After “92 hours of work, 12 hours of sleep and 0 hours of fun,” PM Orbán said they had “fought it out” so that access to EU funds will not be tied to any political condition and utilization of said funds will only be supervised from a financial perspective. What’s more, Hungary will be granted an extra three billion euros on top of what was originally drafted and German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to terminate the Article 7 procedure against Hungary by the end of this year.
“We have reached all our targets,” PM Orbán said, adding that the outcome of the EU summit is proof that “if we are standing next to each other firmly, there is no enemy who could be successful against us.”
“Clearing up the definition of ‘rule of law’ is still important; we will need to get back to it in the close future,” PM Orbán said. However, he continued, “it is not acceptable that anybody, and especially those who inherited the rule of law, criticize us, the freedom fighters that did a lot against the communist regime in favor of rule of law.”
Listing a number of issues that have yet to be resolved, PM Orbán said that the issue surrounding the transparency of NGOs that draw money from the EU, engage in politics and attack their own governments will be put back on the European Council’s agenda soon enough.
Commenting on EU funds for the least developed regions, PM Orbán said that Hungary believes “hard work is the key to success.” And if it takes hard work, he added, then it is guaranteed that “Hungarians will have a very happy seven years.”
“I wish for all Hungarians that they never have a less successful morning than this one,” PM Orbán concluded.