Hungary will support Slovenia’s EU presidency
09. 07. 2021.
In the coming few months, the European Union will be required to face grave issues. It is fortunate, however, that Slovenia will hold the presidency of the Council of the European Union during this period, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at a press conference held after the summit of prime ministers of the countries constituting the Visegrád Group (V4 – Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia) and Slovenia on Friday in Ljubljana.

The main topics of the meeting included the post-coronavirus pandemic situation, the restarting of the economy, migration and the situation in the Western Balkans.

The Hungarian Prime Minister is convinced that the restarting of the economy is the number one priority. This requires three things: investments, security and the enlargement of markets.

Mr Orbán stressed that investments will be made if taxes are not raised; taxes should, in fact, be lowered instead. He added that there will be security if on the issue of immigration and migration we continue to represent our firm position in unity, the position which rejects all plans for migrant distribution quotas.

He highlighted that we need the enlargement of markets, and this is possible if the countries of the Western Balkans are admitted to the European Union within the shortest possible time as a means to enhance the strength of the EU.

“In the coming months, Hungary will do everything it can to support the Slovenian presidency in order to make it successful,” he stated.

At present, Hungary holds the rotating presidency of the V4 group.

Mr Orbán stressed that the cooperation of Central European countries is not a theory, but practical reality. During the pandemic, these countries helped one another in an exemplary manner, he pointed out.

It is fortunate that during these difficult 6 months, of all countries Slovenia will be holding the EU presidency. Prime Minister Janez Jansa will lead the presidency for the second time now, and “as he’s a member of the anti-communist club, he also has a historical horizon for the assessment of issues concerning the European Union,” Mr Orbán said.

In answer to a question, the Prime Minister said migration heading for Europe has two sources. One of them is Asia, while the other one is the Sub-Saharan region where the situation is becoming ever more concerning.

“We are about to withdraw from Afghanistan, and in the Sub-Saharan region, too, we are decreasing our military presence,” Mr Orbán highlighted, adding that this is not a good policy, and it will have consequences for migration. Everyone will have to prepare for a wave of migration arriving from Afghanistan, he underlined.

He took the view that the Slovenian EU presidency will have to place these issues at the centre of the functioning of the European Union.

Mr Orbán also said the European Union should deal with the issues that are truly important such as the pandemic, the post-pandemic restarting of the economies and migration. He took the view that the European Parliament, for instance, is concerning itself with irrelevant questions, and is pursuing “a rule of law jihad”. “We believe that the question of the rule of law is important, but the EP is turning the rule of law into a jihad, thereby diverting attention away from the real problems,” he said. The rule of law should not be used as a political weapon, he highlighted.

In response to another question, the Prime Minister also pointed out that we are in a new situation in Europe. In the mid-2000s, there were the newly joining countries and the old members. Today the situation is different: there are places where there is a high sovereign debt, there is a low economic growth, and a very large number of migrants are destabilising the security situation, and there are countries which keep their sovereign debts under control, are growing fast, and have protected themselves from migrants and are in consequence stable. Central Europe, too, falls into the latter category, he said.

He stressed that Janez Jansa is faced with an enormous task, namely the task of holding together these two very different parts of Europe. However, Slovenia has a good chance of succeeding in uniting these two parts which are currently pursuing different paths also because it is the most westerly Central European country.

However, the European Parliament’s rule of law action works against this unity in the Prime Minister’s view.