Hungary's European Union membership is solid as a rock but funding received from the block counterbalance only partly that "the immense capital of the other EU countries is running us down," Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told German daily newspaper Passauer Neue Presse in an interview published on Thursday.
During a visit to Munich, Germany, Orbán talked about the connection between EU funds and solidarity, underlining to the paper that "if a country decides on a sovereign level that it lets migrants in then the consequences of this must not be distributed all over other member states", therefore Berlin cannot push the consequences of its decisions onto others "taking a detour to Brussels".
With this latter remark the PM was referring to his resolve that Hungary cannot be punished by having its EU funding interrupted / reduced just because it made limited contributions to the costs relating to the migration crisis. Italy's Prime Minister has recently suggested such a response to Hungary's actions in the crisis.
Orbán also said in the interview that "if Hungary is criticised for only taking the EU's money then it hurts our self-esteem because that is only one side of the coin". The EU's old and wealthy member states make a lot of money on Hungary and on Hungarians, and the subsidies from the cohesion funds offset it only partly that the immense capital of the other EU countries is running us over.
This line of thought was repeatedly voiced by several senior government officials. They argued that considering the VAT and customs revenues Hungary never collected being an EU member and the capital foreign companies transferred out of the country then Hungary was actually harmed by the EU funds. This argument is questionable and is difficult to underpin with actual figures.
Hungary spends a lot on border protection, "at least as much on a Hungarian scale as Germany spends on refugees." This is "pure European solidarity", the PM underlined when addressing solidarity in Europe.
With respect to EU matters Orbán noted that Hungary's EU membership is unwavering.Hungary, which had been squeezed between three worlds, Europe, Russia and Muslims for centuries, is a "Christian country of a Western mindset" therefore it has a natural pace in Europe, but it wants a Europe that is not "closing up" but nurtures vibrant western and eastern relationships.
In this respect he noted about Russia that a policy must be pursued that makes major powers interested in the success of Europe, and for that a smart and well-though-out co-operation is necessary with Russia and President Vladimir Putin. Orbán said he trusts that the "reform minority" thinking this way will turn into a majority. He added in Hungary we do not feel that Russia would be threatening our security.
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 October 2016 12:24