Gergely Gulyas - Photo: MTI

Gulyas: EU will be hard to keep together if respect for law not restored

If respect for the law is not restored in Europe, "it will be very difficult to keep the European Union together in the long run," the head of the Prime Minister's Office told a conference on Monday, marking the 20th anniversary of Hungary's accession to the bloc.

In his keynote speech, Gergely Gulyas said Hungary continued to pursue clear and firm policies based on the principle that laws must be respected.

He said it would therefore be critical for Hungary to win over support for its position in the coming years and display the necessary determination when it comes to the matter of war and peace.

Gulyas said those who wanted peace and an end to “mad gender politics” and opposed migration would have to vote for Hungary’s ruling parties in the June European Parliament elections.

As regards the current state of the EU, he said the bloc was less competitive than the United States and China, and had “fared the worst by far” in global competition in recent years.

He pointed out that between 2005 and 2022, the United States’ GDP had grown from 13 trillion dollars to 23 trillion dollars, the EU’s from 11.9 trillion dollars to 16.6 trillion, while China had seen its GDP expand from 2.3 trillion to 17.5 trillion dollars.

“The goal for Europe to be the world’s biggest and strongest region of competitiveness and freedom is much farther away today than back when this idea was formulated,” he said.

Gulyas said that rather than working to unite member states, Brussels was working to tear their previously existing unity apart and on “unjustifiably sanctioning certain countries”.

He said Brussels’s biggest mistakes were being made in the area of environmental protection, arguing that it was drafting regulations that had no, or only minimal impact on the reduction of harmful emissions while simultaneously hurting the bloc’s competitiveness.

Brussels, he added, had also failed to come up with a “comprehensible answer” to the issue of migration, the biggest challenge of the 21st century. He said neither was the legal framework in place, nor could member states agree on a common position on the issue. Member states, Gulyas pointed out, could not even agree on the need to protect the EU’s external borders.

He said Europe had also lost out on the war between Russia and Ukraine “regardless of what its outcome will be”.

Meanwhile, Gulyas said that whereas Hungary had been the worst-performing country in the region between 2004 and 2010, it had achieved “outstanding results” after 2010 and was now the fastest-growing country in the central European region. Central Europe, he said, was holding its own and had been able to preserve advantages such as social benefits, the welfare system, high wages and its rich culture.

He said the standard of living in Hungary was at 80 percent of the EU average, “and there’s a good chance that we can reach 90 percent by 2030”.

Concerning Hungary’s upcoming presidency of the Council of the EU, Gulyas said: “We’re the ones doing the European Union a favour, because a fair and balanced mediating role will be taken on by a country where normalcy still prevails and where common sense still holds a majority.”

“We trust that it will be somewhat better for Europe than if another member state were to perform this task,” he said. Hungary will help the EU to “do a little bit better for six months”, he added.

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