By: V4 Agency
“We had a thorough and exhaustive discussion on migration and the rule of law,” PM Orban said during a joint press briefing, following a meeting of the premiers of the V4 countries and France.
At the meeting of the Visegrad Group countries (the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia) and France, Hungary’s premier emphasized that Emmanuel Macron had given an overview of his country’s plans and goals ahead of the French EU presidency.
PM Orban underlined: We had a thorough and exhaustive discussion on migration, the rule of law, the Western Balkans, energy and especially nuclear energy.
They also exchanged thoughts on the future of the Emissions Trading System (ETS), he added.
PM Orban called it an extremely rare opportunity that they could openly discuss issues of such importance. He thanked the French president on behalf of the V4 states for his openness and foresight, and for giving them the chance to start thinking about the key goals of the French presidency in advance.
Responding to a question, PM Orban said he and the French president tend to engage in serious debates. “These are sometimes fierce ones, which I like.” A debate is only negative “if there is no quality to it,” he added. Quality debates are good and he strives to engage in those kinds of debates with the French president, he said. It also means that due respect is always given to the president of France, partly because of his personality and partly because the French presidents in Hungary “are held in high esteem,” PM Orban said. De Gaulle is respected as “a benchmark” , a school-creating master in Hungary. In 1998, when Mr Orban first became prime minister, he met Giscard d’Estaing, who visited Hungary on a campaign trip, worked together with Jacques Chirac, and Nicolas Sarkozy has well-know ties to Hungary. He emphasized that he therefore honoured President Macron and France by not commenting on French domestic policy.
Hungary is a state governed by the rule of law, and the operation of the secret services is also governed by the rule of law, which is always observed, the Hungarian premier said. “When we started politics, that wasn’t yet the case, as we come from resistance to the communist regime,” “we entered into politics from the world of freedom fighters and street fighters,” he said.
In response to another question, Mr Orban said Hungary’s economic performance and financial situation was measured by the market. The euro-zone is a “very warm and cosy” place, where the Stability and Growth Pact tells us what to do, but the market is “cold and cruel,” he explained, adding that “we have to stand our ground there,” and the value and strength of the Hungarian economy is measured in the financial markets of the day. “We are doing well for the time being,” but the budget deficit is something to pay attention to, he said.
Mr Orban also said that Hungary not receiving the amounts due from the EU’s recovery fund had political reasons. The European Commission’s demand – that Hungary should amend its family law and education law – is totally unacceptable. “What does this have to do with the relaunch of the European economy, what does this have to do with the sensible use of money?” – he asked. Mr Orban stated that “We are victims of a political blackmail,” but the Hungarian economy is strong enough to survive for a long time without these funds. All the programmes that were to be launched with this money have been launched using our own budgetary resources, with Hungarians and the Hungarian economy not suffering any disadvantages because of Brussels’ blackmail.
Mr Orban also said that Hungary had been the only one to say that if necessary, the border must be defended with physical force, and in doing so, they are not only defending Hungary, but the whole of Europe. He said “we have not received a single praise. To the contrary, we had to withstand the most vicious attacks.” While we were defending Europe’s borders,“ we were regularly shot in the back from Brussels and some European capitals,” he said. But Hungary never complained, whined or took offence. It did its job, knowing that it was not only defending itself, but also Europe, he added.
He said the situation had changed and it was time to create some sort of balance sheet. It will not work that in the future many countries will have to allocate serious costs to defending themselves, the Schengen border and Europe. It is time the European Union showed some solidarity, Mr Orban said, adding “so far we are the only ones showing solidariry with the other EU member states and with Brussels, they have not shown solidarity with us.” It’s time to make a fair calculation about the portion of the costs of European defence borne by certain member states, and refund at least half the costs of defending Europe to Hungarian citizens.