Prime Minister Viktor Orbán with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawieczki. (Photo: MTI / PMO - archive)

Orbán: Hungary secures extra EUR 3bn funding after unfair offer

‘Hate, blackmail’ beaten back

The outcome of the recent European Union summit in Brussels on the bloc's 2021-2027 budget and its pandemic recovery package can be interpreted as the Hungarian and Polish forces having "repelled the international attack of the liberal brigades", Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said. Hungary and Poland had thwarted the attempt to have others decide on the funds to which they are entitled, he said.

Orbán said there were some countries that had pushed for an arrangement where Hungary and Poland would receive their entitlements but their spending would have been tied to political conditions. “These are typically countries that are pro-immigration and hate us because we don’t allow them to enforce their migration policy and because Hungary stops migrants,” he said, asserting that they were backed by US financier George Soros.

He said these member states had wanted to introduce a financial mechanism with which they could “blackmail Hungary and Poland”.

Orbán added that Hungary had “only won an important battle, not a war”. He said debates on the future of Europe involved the clash of two conflicting visions. One was “past Christianity and the era of national cultures and would admit many people of foreign cultures so that they could mix with those living here to create a unique culture”.

(Photo: MTI / Press Office of the Prime Minister / Vivien Cher Benko)

But Hungary did not want this. “We like it if there’s security, order if there’s no terrorism and we don’t want to have to be the ones to conform to those who come here. We don’t want to go down that path.” But those who held the opposing view “don’t want us to be the ones to decide on this because they say that Europe should be the same everywhere”.

This debate has not been settled, the prime minister said, adding that Hungary should be prepared to continue to fight this battle “for decades to come”. This was why Hungary had to be governed by a nationally-minded government and leader “who understands this connection and is capable of standing up for Hungary”.

He said the EU summit was a key moment in the history of Hungary and the other 26 member states because they had tried something that had never been done before. Because several member states had hit trouble, EU leaders had to deal not just with the bloc’s next seven-year budget but also put together an economic recovery package.

Orbán said there were members whose public debt-to-GDP ratio was expected to reach 150-160 percent. By comparison, Hungary’s debt-to-GDP ratio was 83-85 percent in 2010, he said, adding that this too had been “depressing”.

Given that there were a variety of interests clashing at the summit, it was “very hard” to reach a deal that everyone felt was good.

Orbán said he and his team were able to secure a little more than 3 billion euros in additional funding. When the Hungarian delegation arrived there was a proposal on the table that was “unfair” and “deeply flawed”. It had needed to be corrected and it was.

On another topic, he said Hungary is a part of an international division of labour that is the European single market. “But we have a historical disadvantage that we inherited from the communist era and if we open up our borders and there are no protective tariffs in place, companies from the countries that have been more fortunate in the past will come here and put up a tough competition for Hungarian businesses”.

Because these companies repatriate their profits from Hungary, “the goal is to ensure we make at least as much money off of them as they make off of us”. Orbán said the government’s task is to see that money flowing into Hungary, for instance EU funds, matches the repatriated profits of foreign-owned multinationals.

Leave a Reply