European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen – Photo: wikipedia

Orbán: Hungary cannot back extension of EC President’s mandate

Hungary cannot support the extension of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's mandate, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Brussels on Thursday, adding that she had used the rule of law, "an important European value", as a political tool against Hungary.

In a doorstep interview ahead of a two-day European Council summit, Orbán said the Polish government, “which Brussels has always supported with the tools of the rule of law”, had implemented changes “that were at least questionable”, without the European Commission raising concerns.

“When I asked in a letter whether we Hungarians could do what the new Polish government did in Poland, they didn’t even deign to answer. We do not think the president of such a Commission should stay in place,” he said.

He said the European People’s Party, the Socialists and Liberals had formed a “coalition” to name the new leaders of European Union institutions. “That is a party coalition of lies and deception,” he said.

Orbán called the agreement “shameful”, and said it had been set up based on party affiliations, without regard to the “bad performance of the past five years” or plans for the future.

The EPP “has collected some of the right-wing votes and shifted them to the left, and so they deceived European voters,” Orbán said. “This is impertinence in the face of European voters, the majority of whom voted to the right, and wanted to see right-wing leadership,” he said.

“We have no reason to support this abuse of power.”

Regarding country specific recommendations to Hungary in EU reports, Orbán said: “We take those as compliments.” The issues in question were important tools of Hungarian economic policy contributing Hungarian growth far outstripping EU average, he added.

“That’s where Hungarian success comes from. They want to take that success away, but we shall not give it away,” he said.

Asked about Hungary’s EU presidency starting on Monday, Orbán said the main focus points were competitiveness and economic growth. Besides those issues, “which are supported by everyone,” Hungary also strived for peace and for stopping illegal migration, he added. “Large countries are backing 95 percent of our programmes,” he added.

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