Press Conference with Viktor Orbán after a meeting of the European Council
Brussels, 10th December 2020

First of all, may I say that I’ve spent already more than thirty years in international politics, and may I say that I’ve never seen things like that. I’ve never seen such tense and difficult months which are behind us, and I don’t remember any negotiation as difficult, tense and strong as it was today. Poor Mateusz, anyway, because he is the commander of us at this moment – I mean the V4: he took over the V4 leadership in July, and he got the first big, big negotiations in July, and now the second one. And Mateusz, may I say that you will still suffer leading us for the third one; because nobody mentioned it, but Angela Merkel said clearly that this was only one step. There is still one more difficult obstacle, and that is the ratification of this agreement by the national parliaments. So we did our job, the best one we can, but now still there is a chance for the national parliaments to discuss and to approve what we have achieved.

So I always love to fight on the side of the Polish, generally speaking; and that was even today a very good feeling to achieve what we had planned to be achieved. There will be a higher horizon on this issue, because we have reached our targets of the teams we set up several weeks or months ago, but there is a higher horizon, and we could say modestly that we saved the unity of the union. So don’t forget that this dispute was not only about the rule of law regulation, financial issues: it was about the future of the European Union. And the question was, what is the power centre of the European Union? The European institutions like the Parliament, the Commission, or the Member States? And today we delivered evidence that the European Union is nothing else but a community and alliance of the nations and the states. And nobody can circumvent the intentions and the will of the elected governments of any nation: neither the European Parliament, nor the Commission – nobody. Because the European Union is the unity of the nations. So we delivered evidence of that. So we fought for our rights, we rejected to be blackmailed and forced to do something which is not acceptable for our nations. And that was a good outcome for the future of Europe, because now it’s obvious that Europe can continue only as the community of the nations.

There is some dispute, if I understand correctly, how strong is the deal we have reached today – I mean the conclusion of the Council. Again, please don’t forget that any regulation created by the Commission or the Council and Commission together, or the Parliament, you know, can be modified any time by a two-thirds majority. But a decision made by us, as we did today – the European Council’s conclusions – can be modified only by unanimous decision. So this is the strongest possible instrument in the European Union we used today. So congratulations to Mateusz, and a little bit to myself as well. But that is another story.

And may I just mention some other points. First is that we defended the European constitution, I mean the Treaty: no circumvention, as Mateusz just explained to us. Second, if anybody would like to criticise or accuse us, or to trigger mechanisms like that, they must identify a concrete bridge of certain financial regulations. This mechanism we have created today cannot be used for political targets. It’s clearly, explicitly said in the resolution of the prime ministers. If anybody, any state is accused of transgressing the rule of law regulations, first the mechanism which is written in Article 7 still has a priority. Any other mechanism like that could come just after that. And don’t forget again that it was important for the V4 too, anyway, so, it was important for Central Europe also, because the core of the V4 stand next to each other firmly. And then thanks to President of the Czech Republic, President Zeman: the Czech Republic also joined us, so it’s partly belonging to the Czechs. And Igor Matovič was never against the alliance of the V4, and never criticised us taking that harsh position. So we are still together and I’m sure that we will reunite the V4 with the leadership of Mateusz in the forthcoming weeks and months.

Thank you very much.