EconomyPolitics

PM Orbán: “Europe Should Let Go The Illusion Of Federalism”

At the Lámfalussy Conference organised by the National Bank of Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated Europe must abandon “the illusion of federalism”, and the continent must be made multipolar. In his speech he also praised new US President Donald Trump and urged a joint military and common security system for Europe.

Budapest, 2017. január 23. Orbán Viktor miniszterelnök beszédet mond a Lámfalussy-konferencián a budapesti Marriott hotelben 2017. január 23-án. Az asztalnál Matolcsy György, a Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB) elnöke (j), Jacques de Larosiére, a Nemzetközi Valutaalap (IMF) volt vezérigazgatója, a Banque de France egykori elnöke, az Európai Újjáépítési és Fejlesztési Bank (EBRD) korábbi vezérigazgatója (b2) és Tien Kuo-li, a Bank of China elnöke (b). MTI Fotó: Koszticsák Szilárd
Europe should have more self-confidence, Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán said at the Lámfalussy conference organised by the National Bank (photo: MTI)

Era of bilateralism

Hungary’s Prime Minister has praised the new American President for putting the nation’s interest first, saying this “big change” paved the way for an era of bilateralism. Viktor Orbán welcomed Donald Trump’s inaugural speech that each nation has a right to consider its own interests above all, saying that “this sentence could not have been uttered before”. “We have received permission from the highest secular place that we, too, have the right to put ourselves first. This is a big thing, a great freedom, a great gift,” Orbán said at the conference named after economist Sándor Lámfalussy, the Hungarian-born “father of the euro”.

This will pave the way for bilateral military and economic cooperation deals, he said. Orbán said the EU should seek a new deal with the US because the EU-US free trade pact was “dead”. Also, the EU should “let go of the illusion of federalism”. He added that a deal should be negotiated with China, and “the Russia issue should also be revisited”, arguing that there were plenty of opportunities in a “multipolar world”. He said Russia had survived “the West’s attempts” to “isolate” and “dismantle the regime” there and it had survived low oil prices and the sanctions. Orbán said it did not make sense for Europe to ignore the strength and opportunities presented by Russia.

European Military Alliance

The Hungarian Premier also said Europe should have more self-confidence. According to Orbán, the continent should be able to protect itself without any outside assistance. Right now it is incapable of doing so, he insisted. Orbán, however, welcomed French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon’s visit on Monday to Berlin, where the matter of a joint European military alliance is expected to be one of the main topics of discussion. Orbán said one of the biggest questions regarding the future of Europe was whether it could defend itself without the help of the US.

“The key to solving this problem seems straightforward, and it is a German-French defence and military alliance, joint military and common security system,” the Prime Minister said. Outlining Europe’s problems, he said that the parts of the continent where many migrants had settled had also seen an immediate increase in crime. He said migration and the settlement of migrants was not the way to solve Europe’s demographic challenges, arguing that nations that are incapable of sustaining their birth rates “don’t even deserve to survive”.

Hungarian model

Hungary’s economy has developed “spectacularly” ever since the central bank “stopped being in opposition”, Orbán told the same conference Earlier, when the National Bank of Hungary was “in opposition”, politics and business were “going in different directions” and “Hungary suffered greatly and unnecessarily,” Orbán said. Assessing the state of Hungary’s economy, Orbán said the country had become a “success story”.

He said the four elements of “the Hungarian model” were political stability, a disciplined fiscal policy, a society based on labour instead of welfare and the policy of opening up to the East. Regarding the latter, Orbán said Europeans must understand that “we can’t aspire to open up to other countries in the East, say, China, and then proceed to lecture them every morning about human rights.” Respect is the foundation of the policy of opening to the East, and this precedes ideology, he insisted.

This year’s Lámfalussy conference, organised for the fourth time by the Hungarian central bank, focused on opportunities in the cooperation between Europe and Asia.

via hungarymatters.hu, MTI and kormany.hu