Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s statement following his meeting with the President of the European Council
3 February 2020, Brussels

Eszter Baraczka (M1 television): Were there issues that are still unresolved, and which will have to be negotiated further?

Every issue is unresolved. We spoke about what topics we would like to deal with over the next six months, and what progress we would like to make on these. So we have a busy six months ahead of us: there’s the budget, and then migration, digitalisation, and the question of enlargement. We not only want to hold negotiations on these issues, but we also want to resolve the majority of them with agreements. This is an extremely ambitious schedule; it’s not impossible, but we will have to perform a miracle to realise it.

Eszter Baraczka (M1 television): And the President of the European Council is meeting every leader with specific reference to the budget. We know that the positions are still very far apart from one another. Do you see any chance of a compromise from Hungary’s perspective?

Most of our discussion today was indeed about the budget. The other topics weren’t marginal, but the budget was the most important, because the President has called a prime ministerial summit for 20 February to discuss this issue. Today we didn’t even get round to presenting figures based on Hungary’s own national interests. We have our numbers, of course; but the negotiations are not yet at that stage, as the budget’s fundamental concept is not sportsmanlike – or it’s unfair, as they say here, or as one must say here. So the budget includes amendments that aim to reallocate funding from the poorer countries towards the richer countries. It includes injustices such as Brussels continuing the bad practice of the past seven years, whereby poorer countries’ share of the funding distributed from Brussels is only 5 per cent, even though our countries account for 20 per cent of Europe’s population. We’ve seen absolutely no improvement on this. So I told the President that we must provide the budget with equitable foundations: we want a fair budget; and if this is achieved, then within it the Hungarians will find the arithmetic – the combination of figures – that is favourable to us.

Katalin Zöldhegyi (Hír Televízió): There are still three weeks before the EU summit. Will there be further meetings? Will there perhaps be some kind of schedule agreed with other countries, with the V4 countries?

I have just come back from Portugal, where we held talks with sixteen other Member States who have similar problems with the conceptual, intellectual and theoretical foundations of the budget. We will be holding talks with them, and in fact I have already informed them of the proposals I have put forward: concrete proposals for restoring the budget’s conceptual soundness. I presented these in writing to the President, and have also sent them to the leaders of the other Member States who are in the same boat as us. The fact that there will be a summit on 20 February does not mean that our negotiations must conclude then – that would be a good thing, but our position is that the quality of the budget is more important than when it is adopted.

Eszter Baraczka (M1 television): What is Hungary’s red line? What will we refuse to concede under any circumstances?