PM Orbán: Hungary is able to protect its interests

The prime minister said member states should take powers back from Brussels instead of giving up more.

In response to Germany’s proposal to end unanimous votes on EU policies, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said the bloc’s founding treaty was clear on the areas that required unanimous votes and ones that did not. Changing the voting rules would require an amendment to the founding treaty, which requires unanimous support, he said. “We’ll tell them right now to not even bother getting started on it,” he said. Member states should take powers back from Brussels instead of giving up more in order for the bloc to function well, he added.

Also, when asked about Pope Francis’s upcoming visit to Hungary at Thursday’s government press briefing, PM Orbán said it was important to remember that the pontiff was both a head of state and the head of a church, for which he deserved respect and an attitude of humility. Given that Pope Francis will be delivering mass at a global event, it will be up to him to decide whom he meets with. The prime minister added that it would be an honor if the pontiff met with him, adding that the government was ready to welcome the pope humbly.

Finally, when asked about relations between the United States and China, PM Orbán said Hungary was interested in a form of cooperation between the two countries that benefitted central Europe and led to increased trade and investments rather than a cold war. Asked for his thoughts on China expanding its political influence through economic agreements, PM Orbán said China’s Fudan University had a presence at five German universities and 24 Scandinavian ones, and also cooperated with Yale University in the US. He said that if these countries were all capable of protecting their national security interests, then Hungary would be too. PM Orbán added that as long as his government was in power, it would protect the country from foreign influence.