PM Orbán: Central Europe must carry more influence in EU policy decisions

Central Europeans must be given more influence in political decisions, as the European Union can no longer be run solely by the Franco-German axis, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview with Czech conservative daily Lidové Noviny.

The prime minister pointed out that the Central European region, the Baltic states, the V4, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania have the fastest growing economies in Europe: Without these countries, the EU would be stagnating, and Western Europe cannot run its own economy without Central Europe either. He called it a “new reality” that the V4 countries have the capability to positively shape the future of the EU.

PM Orbán underlined that Hungary must remain in the European Union as the single market is in the country’s interest; however, Central European interests and aspects should be given greater weight in proportion to the actual economic performance of the region. “Our influence on EU decisions is disproportionately small compared to our economic performance and weight. This must change,” he said.

On the defense of traditional national identity, the prime minister reiterated that education, family policy and media regulation are all national competencies within the EU and “cannot be taken away from us.”

PM Orbán also discussed the woke movement, which is gaining momentum in the West. He called it the “new Marxism,” adding that Central Europeans are “inoculated against Marxism,” because “it was in power here for 45 years.” For Westerners, Marxism is more of an intellectual topic, but Central Europeans know that if the economy and society are organized on Marxist foundations, dictatorship will follow, he said. The prime minister hoped that the EU accession of Central European countries would add an anti-Communist aspect to the contemporary Pan-European culture, but Western Europe does not seem to be interested.

Regarding the Child Protection Act, he made it clear that the law declares that it is parents’ exclusive right to educate their children about sexual issues, and that LGBTQ activists or representatives of any other ideology are not competent to do so. Brussels wants to override this, their position is that LGBTQ activists should be allowed in schools. The PM stressed that the Hungarian law does not apply to people over 18, it is only about the protection of children.

Prime Minister Orbán also noted that the recent suggestion by French President Emmanuel Macron that the EU should pursue an independent foreign policy was an exciting and interesting idea, adding that Hungary is also happy to participate in discussions on strategic autonomy and sovereignty. He also said that it was possible to bridge the differing views within the V4 on the Russian issue. One of the EU’s most important duties would be to guarantee Poland and the Baltic states have military security, he said. On the Gazprom dispute, he pointed out that Europe would not be able to function today without Russian gas.

Commenting on Pope Francis’ visit to Budapest, he said he asked the Pontifex to help us remain Christian and noted that those who believe that Christianity is part of the future must unite. Today there are many groups, particularly Brussels bureaucrats, who want to move the European continent into a post-Christian era.

Discussing the issue of migration, Viktor Orbán said double standards are applied in Europe: A liberal government always does the right thing, while a conservative government always does the wrong thing, even if they do the same thing, referring to the different responses to the construction of border fences in Hungary and in the Baltic states. The prime minister said that instead of taking in migrants, the EU should help the surrounding countries cope with the burden of those coming from Afghanistan. However, “if the Germans want, Hungary is willing to open a corridor for Afghan migrants to reach Germany,” he said. He also warned that the great migration wave of 2015 resulted in an increased number of terrorist attacks. He stressed that Brussels will again and again try to impose the distribution of migrants on Member States “and we will have to veto it again and again, as we did with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš years ago.”

Regarding EU funds, he underlined that sooner or later “that money will have to be allocated,” but since Brussels could slow down the process, the Hungarian state has made a “good deal” and borrowed EUR 4.5 billion from the financial markets at below 1 percent interest, meaning recovery projects necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic can already start running.

On the introduction of a 15 percent global corporate tax, he said he would not normally support an international decision that interferes with Member States’ tax policy.

Commenting on Hungarian domestic policy, PM Orbán noted that “human rights organizations and European bureaucrats” remained silent when protesters were bloodily repressed after the Őszöd speech because they always forgive sins committed by left-wing governments. The challenge in Hungary now is to prevent the return of the Gyurcsány government, he pointed out. Voters do not forget, “that is why we have won three times in a row and that is why we will win for a fourth time,” the prime minister concluded. He drew a parallel between Hungary’s anti-Orbán and Czechia’s anti-Babiš political coalitions, saying that when big powers dislike a government in Central Europe, they try to bring to power groups sympathetic to their interests. Brussels today needs servile governments instead of leaders who fight for the independence of their own countries.