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Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó gave an interview to CNN from the studio of the Hungarian ATV on Monday, and has now added his views on the interview which he shared on his social media page.
As we have also reported, Hungary rejoined the third EU vaccine supply contract with BioNTech/Pfizer in September even though the government had announced in May, and reconfirmed late November by PMO Head Gergely Gulyás, that Hungary would not participate in further EU vaccine purchases. CNN’s Hala Gorani’s first question was regarding this, and according to her, the low vaccination rate of Hungary. Szijjártó told her that Hungary is currently at 70% [the minister probably referring to the percentage of vaccinated adults, which number can be close to 70%] but they want this number to be 100% in the future. He also added that Hungary is number one when it comes to booster shots. Szijjártó noted that Hungary was very quick to vaccinate at the beginning of the pandemic.
The interview then took a turn towards issues regarding the European Union, and a letter sent by the European Commission with questions, for example, about how EU funds were used. Szijjártó said that they will definitely respond to the letter, but added that “Our debate with Brussels and the European Commission goes deeper than that.” He says the reasons for debates are that there is a “totally different opinion on both sides about the future of the European Union. Brussels and some member states “want to create a United States of Europe with more competencies brought to Brussels, and take away competencies from the member states. We definitely oppose that.” He continued, saying: “I have to admit that we are in the minority now, of those who want the European Union made up of strong member states, and who want to give back some competencies to the member states.”
Gorani said, “For instance, you pass laws that are seen as anti-gay and lesbian, Viktor Orbán, your Prime Minister, becoming very close to China with business deals, blocking even the EU from issuing a statement condemning China’s backing of anti-government crackdown protests in Hong Kong. Why be a member of a club whose rules you don’t seem to want to follow?”
Szijjártó answered that “We are a committed member of the European Union, we want it to be stronger, stronger than currently, for sure. But our position is that by creating a United States of Europe, it’s not going to be possible,” and that a “strong European Union can only be based on strong member states.” He stressed that they have not passed any kind of anti-gay law. Gorani said that there are different interpretations of the law. The Foreign Minister has already talked about this in another interview to CNN with Richard Quest, which we also wrote about.
The reporter asked Szijjártó if he really believes what he has told the Financial Times, that the USA will try to interfere in the Hungarian elections next spring. We also reported about this yesterday. Szijjártó responded that he never said this, he said that in the region of Central Europe, “…we always have to count on the West and East, so both sides willing to put influence in this region. Unfortunately, this is what our history is about.” He added that “these kinds of attempts to have an influence on this region are continuous and will be here with us in the future also,” and that the secret services “have already detected some preparations in this regard that certain countries, certain entities, certain organizations would like to influence the public will in Hungary, even regarding the elections.”
The Foreign Minister shared the video on his Facebook page and wrote in the caption: “Left-liberal press equation: 1 CNN interview = 3 questions = 3 false claims.”
The full interview can be watched below:
Featured image: Screen capture of the interview via Péter Szijjártó’s Facebook page