In an exclusive interview to Euronews, outgoing President Jean-Claude Juncker said that he does not consider Viktor Orbán a European leader. Juncker also revealed he had previously considered Orbán a hero, but the Hungarian politician has changed and is now behaving less European and more aggressive against the commission.
When asked whether he felt defeated by Orbán’s anti-Brussels campaign, Juncker answered, “no but that’s what he wanted.”
„Although there are big differences in our way of thinking, our personal relationship is still good. That’s why we can make jokes from time to time.
I looked up to Viktor Orbán in the late eighties as he opposed the Soviet occupation. He was a hero in Hungary. I’ve always had a lot of respect for him.”
But then Orbán turned “less European and became aggressive against the commission,” said Juncker. “Even if the commission did a lot for Hungary, which Orbán acknowledges in private conversations but not publicly.”
When asked whether the outgoing EC president considers Orbán a European leader, Jucker said „He’s a Hungarian leader!” stating ” …his number one concern is his country, not Europe. And that is a huge mistake.”
If we are only interested in our own country, where we ignite emotion without looking at the broader European context, then we are not European leaders, but blind national leaders. “
Euronews also asked Juncker about the nomination of László Trócsányi for the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations portfolio: “I didn’t appoint him,” Juncker noted. He added that he would not criticize the new President of the Commission because her work was very complicated: “The European Parliament has to decide whether they want him,” said Juncker.