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Europe’s Future at Stake in EP Elections, Says Kovács

MTI-Hungary Today 2019.04.02.

Next month’s European Parliament elections will be “critical”, Zoltán Kovács, the state secretary for international communications and relations, said in Vienna on Monday. At stake is the continent’s future, he added.

After meeting foreign journalists, Kovács told MTI that many believed the dispute between Fidesz and the European People’s Party was technical and focused on which political family Hungary’s ruling parties belong to. The real dispute, however, is about Europe’s future, he said.

Kovács pays regular visits to European capitals to answer questions from local politicians and journalists and acts as a direct source of information about the Hungarian government’s decisions.

The state secretary said that he had always found speaking to journalists living in Vienna “enlightening”.

“What happens in Vienna is, in many ways, a bellwether of what awaits us in western Europe,” Kovács said, adding that there had been “a radical change” in how Hungary is perceived by its western neighbour. Whereas Hungary had been on the receiving end of serious criticisms from Austria’s former Social Democratic governments, it is now seen in a much more favourable light, he said. Although perceptions of Hungary on the part of western European journalists have been slow to change, in light of the consistency the country has been known for over the past 8-9 years, signs of changing perceptions are there to see, Kovács said.

Does Fidesz Still Have Friends in the EPP?

No other European government has the kind of democratic mandate that Viktor Orbán’s government was handed in three successive elections, he said.

The state secretary said he also spoke during his visit about Hungary’s approach to family policy, social institutions and European politics.