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Let’s show Brussels, let’s stand up for Hungary

Mr. Orbán stated that “We must show Brussels that what happens in Hungary will be what Hungarians want, and what happens in Hungary and in Europe will not be decided in Brussels by all kinds of parties pulling and pushing towards the left, or in the offices of George Soros-style ‘civil society organisations’.”

He also stressed that “we’re not willing to do what Brussels dictates, if that is not good for Hungarians”.

He pointed out that in 2010 Brussels had demanded that Hungary enact austerity measures, but in response the Hungarian government sent the IMF packing and reduced taxes. He added that following this Brussels wanted to “allow banks to force people to repay their foreign currency loans a hundred times over”; instead of this, however, the Government held banks to account. Brussels also wanted high household utility charges, he said, but instead Hungary introduced reductions in them.

“Then they said we should let in migrants, but we built a fence. And now they’re saying that we should take back migrants, but we’re not willing to accept mandatory resettlement quotas,” said Mr. Orbán.

Responding to German chancellor Angela Merkel’s remark that no Member States can refuse to take in migrants, the Prime Minister said that pro-immigration countries and their leaders had not renounced their idea of transforming Central Europe as well. In his view, however, Central Europe occupies the moral high ground: unlike the West, the Central Europeans do not wish to force their ideas about their own lives upon people in the West.

He continued by saying that “anyone can shake their fist […] Hungary will not yield ground on the fundamental right which we have not yielded on for a thousand years”: the Hungarian people shall decide what happens in relation to important issues that determine their lives.

He described the Brussels bureaucratic elite as living in a bubble, and as having lost touch with reality, but “we here must keep both feet on the ground, and must take national interests as our starting point”. He stated that Brussels bureaucrats “cannot tell us what to do: we shall tell them what they must do.”

Regarding Fidesz’s membership of the European People’s Party (EPP), the Prime Minister and Fidesz president said that “we have gained time” and, taking into account the fact that thirteen parties initiated the expulsion of Fidesz from the EPP, the final outcome is acceptable. He said that “After the European elections, within Fidesz we’ll decide what is best for Hungary: whether we should continue within the People’s Party, or if our place is instead within some new form of party alliance.” Mr. Orbán added that the thirteen parties in question are all pro-immigration, and that rather than stopping migration they want to legalise it.

He repeated that Fidesz can neither be expelled nor suspended. Fidesz is in its fourth term in government, and in the past three EP elections it was Europe’s most successful party. Therefore if no solution to the dispute had been found, Fidesz would have left the EPP, he pointed out, adding that for this reason throughout the debate in the People’s Party he was holding in his hand his party’s official declaration of withdrawal from the grouping.

Mr. Orbán said that those attacking Fidesz belong to a pro-immigration platform which extends across party lines and “also has one foot in the EPP”. He believes that this is resulting in the entire EPP continuously shifting to the left.

He noted that the pro-immigration wing is not even trying to hide the fact that it wants a large pro-immigration coalition after the EP elections; and indeed behind the scenes this group “has effectively signed the deal”, seeking to create a grand pro-immigration coalition with the Greens, Liberals and Socialists. Mr. Orbán observed that they also know that Fidesz would never support such a formation. He added that it would never enter into any kind of coalition in Hungary with DK, the former prime minister’s party – and neither would it want to find itself in such a situation in the European arena.

According to the Prime Minister, the EPP is no longer the strong party that it was in the time of Helmut Kohl, but “has been blighted with an unhappy fate”, has lost its sovereignty, and is following dictates from the Left. Indeed, he said, it seeks to cooperate with the Left, and therefore it tolerates double standards – particularly if they are applied to Central European countries. The EPP must regain its sovereignty, and it must not be such a “semi-leftist, drifting party”, he said. He added that after the EP elections, when Fidesz decides whether or not to continue within the People’s Party, the decisive issues will be whether or not double standards continue to be applied, whether or not the EPP will be anti-immigration, whether or not it will stand up for Christian values, and whether or not it continues to shift to the left. If this shift continues, he said, Fidesz will have to do something new.

He said that “there is no party discipline for which I would renounce the important things that the Hungarian people have decided on”, such as the defence of Christian culture and the halting of migration.

Mr. Orbán also noted that the important issues are decided not in party meetings, but in the European Council of prime ministers, and therefore “this will have no effect of any kind on our ability to assert our interests”.

Referring to French president Emmanuel Macron’s statement that the issue of Fidesz’s membership in the EPP has revealed a “clan mentality” within the grouping, the Prime Minister pointed out that the French president belongs to another party alliance; and so one might ask “what business of his it is”, and suggest that “he focuses on sweeping his own doorstep”.

In the radio interview the Prime Minister also noted that in the Dutch provincial elections the governing coalition had lost its majority in the upper house. In this regard, he said that the party of the European Socialists’ Spitzenkandidat – “a bubble-dweller called Timmermans” – has been crushingly defeated, and has lost the people’s trust.

Despite this, he said, Frans Timmermans visits Budapest and other European capitals “in order to lecture us on democracy, while back home the people have just sent his party packing.”

Mr. Orbán said that people’s trust in the EU will not grow, but will in fact be greatly undermined if the EU continues to use important EU decision-making positions as a “political hospice” and people who have failed in their own countries continue to be sent to Brussels. “These Timmermans-type people who are sent packing by voters in their home countries should not be given positions in Brussels, because by doing so we are weakening the entire EU cooperation,” he said.

Speaking about the remaining two months before the EP elections, Mr. Orbán said that “in Brussels they’re a little angry with us” due to the Government’s information campaign concerning the EU’s migration plans, and because “we’ve exposed what Brussels is planning”. Nevertheless he stressed the need to remind people that, for instance, a few weeks ago the EP adopted a decision – backed by the votes of Hungarian left-wing MEPs – to triple the budget of the migration fund in the next seven-year financial framework.

Therefore, the Prime Minister said, the task at hand now is to continuously inform people about what Brussels is planning, and in this “we must not back down, and we must not be fearful”.

Mr. Orbán said that he expects to see “better times” after the EP elections, “with active Hungarian involvement in the building of a new Europe”.