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President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker doesn’t think Viktor Orbán is a dictator nor does he believe in the United States of Europe, according to Index.hu’s article. He spoke more about Orbán, Soros and the EU in a recent interview for Polish Rzeczpospolita.

Two years ago at the Riga Digital Summit, Juncker greeted Orbán by saying, “The dictator is coming,” before playfully slapping him in the face. The video went viral, but Juncker now says it was merely a joke and an unfortunate coincidence that everyone could hear what he said through the microphone.

The EC President adds that he does not think Orbán or any other Central-European prime minister is a dictator. Moreover, he respects the Hungarian PM and says he always admired him for the courage he showed when the Soviet Army was still present in Hungary. For Juncker, Orbán was always a hero. Juncker insists they still have a good relationship, and is sure Orbán would say the same.

Orbán: “Juncker Shouldn’t Be Educating Us on Xenophobia”

Earlier, Juncker claimed he doesn’t care about the campaign being used against him in Hungary, but stated that he doesn’t like the conspiracy theory about George Soros. He mentioned that he has met Soros only twice: once three or four years ago and once sometime before that, at Orbán’s request.

EC Answers to ‘Misunderstandings and Misconceptions’ in Hungarian Campaign

Juncker also discussed the idea of the United States of Europe and emphasized that he doesn’t believe in it. “Such a union is not possible against the national will,” he says. Europeans are holding onto their roots and Juncker thinks patriotism and nationalism — in good sense — are necessary. However, he also warns that those following “crazy” nationalism will pay its costs.

Juncker: Orbán’s Nationalism Could Lead to War

According to him, countries that were once forced to follow the rules of foreign authorities need time to accept that the rule of law is a basic element of Europe. He didn’t give an answer to whether the V4 countries would be accepted to the EU today, but said that the criteria are the same as 15 years ago.

Juncker Accusing Orbán of Spreading Fake News Triggers Furious Govt Ripost

Juncker’s answer to whether he thinks Orbán is a democrat or not was ambiguous. He said he was elected congressman in the Parliament of Luxembourg, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and EP congressman, but it never occurred to him to take rights away from those who didn’t vote for him. “Every democratic political system should be based on providing the system of checks and balances,” Juncker added.

featured image: Viktor Orbán and Jean-Claude Juncker; via Olivier Hoslet/epa.eu