In an interview with right-wing pro-government Hungarian news outlet Magyar Idők, Nigel Farage, former head of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), said that he would happily meet with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and that Hungary should follow Britain’s example and leave the EU.
Speaking to Magyar Idők, the British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) began by addressing last month’s resolution by the European Parliament to launch Article 7 procedures against Hungary due to what MEPs see as “serious deterioration of rule of law and democracy” in the country. In its resolution, The European Parliament wrote that Members feel that
Recent developments in Hungary have led to a serious deterioration in the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights which is testing the EU’s ability to defend its founding values.
Farage was asked why he chose to support Viktor Orbán and the Hungarian government in this vote. He responded that he did so because the Hungarian Prime Minister “is a democratically elected politician who enjoys great popularity in his own country.”
The MEP and Brexit campaigner added that Hungary has to choose between “being a sovereign state or an EU member. The two don’t work together.” In fact, the far-right UK politician expressed his personal belief that Orbán “would in reality be quite happy to leave the EU.”
He also said that Hungary “must leave [the EU], if it wants to be a sovereign state.” When pressed on what benefits this might provide to a country as a small as Hungary, Farage said that it is
Obvious that it would be a huge positive. Just think about it: from then on you could write your own laws, handle your own foreign affairs, and exercise complete control over your own borders. The heart of the question is identity, to what extent a country is attached to its culture and values.
Continuing in this vein, Farage added that, while he hasn’t yet had an opportunity to meet with Viktor Orbán for any particular length of time, he would be quite happy for an opportunity to do so.
Responding to questions regarding the European Commission’s launching of infringement procedures against Hungary over its refusal to participate in the EU’s refugee resettlement plan, Farage briefly expressed his belief that Brussels would prevail, before returning to his earlier topic of EU membership. Reemphasizing his earlier comments, Farage said that “a country cannot be independent and democratic, while it is a member of the European Union.” In addition, he claimed that, since Brexit, the UK has “chosen to leave,” while “you [in Hungary] have given up your independence.”
Ironically, Hungarian economist Péter Róna recently expressed a similar opinion, but from a different viewpoint. According to Róna, the Orbán government’s increasingly authoritarian and EU-demonizing policies, such as the “Lex CEU” and the recently passed legislation targeting NGOs that receive foreign funding, will eventually lead to Hungary’s expulsion from the EU.
Far from this being some sort of positive, however, Róna emphasized the fact that EU funding makes chunk of Hungary’s GDP that, in effect, the economy as a whole is propped up by “EU grants, money sent home by Hungarians living abroad, and multinational companies,” much of which would disappear if the country left the Union.
In the interview, Farage then proceeded to compare the European Union to the Soviet Union, while denying that he was doing so.
Farage also touched on Brexit’s impact on the United Kingdom, his own lack of popularity in the European Parliament, and the results of the recent British parliamentary elections, which were a stinging disappointment for UK PM Theresa May, who made the decision to call a snap election earlier this year.
Discussing Emmanuel Macron, as well as the recent electoral defeats suffered by far-right candidates throughout Europe, such as Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, Norbert Hofer in Austria, and Marine Le Pen in France, Farage expressed his belief that Macron “will only be with us for a short while,” and that France’s Euroscepticism will show its strength in the near future.
Via Magyar Idők