Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (r) - Photo: PMO

Orbán: Change needed in Brussels

Change is needed in Brussels because the current leaders of the European Union are unfit to handle the fluid situation in Ukraine and migration, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview to public radio on Friday. Orbán who is attending a two-day EU summit, said a new strategy for Ukraine was needed, which is why changes were needed in the EU leadership, which may be secured in the upcoming European Parliament elections.

“In times of peace … these would be good leaders, but now when there are … giant waves, we certainly won’t succeed with the current leaders,” he said in the public media centre in Brussels.

European leaders able to coordinate the work of prime ministers in difficult times must be sought in the EP elections, he added.

Changes, he said, were also needed in the EU in connection with migration and economic policy because Brussels had come forward with “such impossible proposals” such as a demand that Hungary abolish its schemes subsidising household energy bills, taxing excessive bank profits and the interest rate cap “which protects families”.

Orbán said the seriousness of the situation called for another National Consultation survey. He said the public survey was “a good way of asking some very serious questions, of which there are 10-11 now, and to give an opportunity to people to express their opinion.”

The millions of responses regularly received in such surveys “establish broad support behind the government, and the government can then conduct talks in Brussels with a self-assured position against the hurricane headwinds from Brussels,” he added.

Meanwhile, Orbán said that the budget proposal put forward at the EU summit in Brussels was deemed to be “undeveloped and unfit” for serious negotiations. He said the European Commission must now “come up with a more serious proposal”.

The 7-year budget adopted three years ago was still in effect, he said in the interview given in the Public Media Centre in Brussels.

“We’re not yet halfway and the Brussels money-grabbers are already coming and demanding we give another 100 billion euros…” he said, noting requests for more money for Ukraine and funds for handling migration.

Some of the latter, he said, may be spent on protecting the external border, and this “may yet be discussed”. The rest would go towards distributing migrants already in Europe among member states and setting up migrant camps, he said.

Orbán added migration brought with it terrorism, crime and conflicts from places “thousands of kilometers from here”.

Such conflicts have already made their way to the streets of big European cities, he said. Hungarians, he added, did not understand their significance yet “because we do not have them”.

Commenting on financial support for the war in Ukraine, he said: “Hungary cannot afford it and does not want to afford it.” It sees no reason why Hungarian tax-payers’ money should be sent to a neighbouring state for anything other than humanitarian aid, he said.

Before spending money, the goal must be clearly defined and the resources allocated to it, he added.

At the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the EU’s plan was “to start a defensive war” and Ukrainians “should give their blood, while the EU gives money and weapons, because there was a realistic chance to win on the battlefield”, he said.

Orbán said that whereas this may have once been a realistic scenario and it had been worth talking about giving money to achieve this strategic goal, “by now everybody knows, but they are afraid to say, that this strategy has failed”.

“It’s clear that the Ukrainians will not win on the battlefield and the Russians will not be defeated on the battlefield, and there is no talk about the Russian president losing his position,” Orbán said.

In such a situation, it is necessary to establish that plan A “has failed” and a plan B must be prepared, he said.

“Once there is a plan B, its costs and how to share the costs among ourselves can be discussed, but not the other way round,” he added.

Orbán said migration led to crime, terrorism, unmanageable political tensions and huge costs, adding that Hungary had pointed all this out in 2015.

“They almost crucified us” in Brussels at the time and Hungary’s fence was branded as “blood libel”, he said.

Almost all European countries now accept the stance on migration that Hungary represented in 2015, he added.

Hungary, Orbán said, had worked out a model for how to protect the country and Europe as a whole, one aspect of which was that applications for asylum should be assessed outside Europe while Hungary instituted border closure in the legal, military and physical sense.

He argued that the same should be applied throughout Europe. The point has been reached that mistakes have been admitted to, he said. It has been recognised that terror and crime were allowed in. “Some even dare to say what we say: there’s a clear, inevitable and close connection between migration, crime and terrorism.”

Instead of adopting Hungary’s model, “they are still attacking us”, he said, noting that the European Commission was suing Hungary to dismantle the only means of “successful border protection”.

Orbán insisted that Hungary would be forced to build migrant camps and migrants who attacked the police on the southern Hungarian border would be allowed in.

“They live in a bubble in Brussels,” he said. “People arriving here must not be seen as the subjects of social experiments.”

He said Islam was a “great cultural achievement that lifts man out of barbarism. The only question is … who can guarantee that something good will emerge from the mass coexistence of the two worlds?”

He said the security of the Hungarian people would not be at risk while a national government was in power.

On the subject of his recent talks in China, Orbán said Hungary must cooperate with Chinese companies and make use of their technology to take advantage of green energy and secure its energy independence.

The “biggest question facing the world economy”, he said, was who would have the ability to store green energy and tap it when needed.

Chinese technology, he added, was now cutting-edge and Hungary, by harnessing the new technology in a timely way and with a head start, would quickly overcome many of its developmental shortcomings.

Orbán noted that Hungary “has an exceptionally good relationship with China” and this “should not be dismissed”, and he pointed to the many benefits of economic relations with the country.

Meanwhile, Orbán said that at the root of the government’s family policy lay the simple connection: “With children, there’s a future; without children, there’s no future.”

The government’s key task, he said, was to help people have children. Its job isn’t to convince or persuade people to have children but to help people bypass obstacles that prevent them from doing so, he said.

Orbán said the government had been working on the new form of support which adapts to the changed financial conditions. The new measures will replace the old CSOK system and will be introduced on January 1 next year, and with the introduction of Csok Plus, families with 1-3 children would receive “serious help” to create an independent home.

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