Photo: MTI

Gulyas: Hungary against uniform Europe but its place is in EU, NATO

Hungary rejects attempts to create a uniform Europe but sees no alternative other than to remain a member of the EU and NATO, Gergely Gulyas, the head of the Prime Minister's Office has said in an interview to Magyar 7, a Hungarian weekly in Slovakia, published on Wednesday.
8. February 2023 16:04

“There’s no doubt that one aim of the change in political system [in 1989-1990] was to become a member of the European Union and NATO,” Gulyas said. “However many disappointments there have been … there’s no better alternative.”

Hungary seeks cooperation with like-minded countries in terms of outlook and values, and the government gives strong backing to central European cooperation and the Visegrad Group, and could even envisage V4 expansion, he said.

The disputes between Brussels and Budapest speak to a difference in worldview, he said. “Brussels has long given up basic rule-of-law principles and is preoccupied with power struggles,” he said. The European Commission, he added, did not provide arguments based on EU law but doled out instructions or political demands. “This poses a massive threat to the European Union,” Gulyas said.

If the commission, as the guardian of the EU treaties, does not protect them, it will cause irreparable damage, he said.

Gulyas said the conditions in German and Dutch societies were now “fundamentally different” from those in Slovak, Polish or Hungarian societies. In the time of the Iron Curtain, the political differences were far greater and the social divergences much narrower, he said. Now, in Western Europe, they have forsaken traditional values that had bound societies together, he said, adding that central Europeans insisted on traditional values without “telling the Germans, Dutch or Scandinavians how to live their lives”.

The EU may be “torn apart sooner or later” owing to these basic differences of approach, he said, adding that a way must be found to keep Europe together institutionally and politically while accepting and respecting social differences. A unified internal market can function effectively even if the societies differ from each other, he said.

Brussels and western European countries speak loudly about tolerance, but they are “essentially intolerant”, he said. Imperial aspirations in Europe, he added, were generally unsuccessful and created great suffering, while Europe thrived whenever there was a healthy diversity of its nations.

Gulyas said stealthy attempts were under way to rewrite the EU’s basic treaties and curb national powers and transfer them to Brussels.

Meanwhile, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office said Europe was still an economic superpower but weak militarily, and it had failed to create a force that could endow the bloc with military authority without abolishing national armies.

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