Katalin Novák, the state secretary for family and youth affairs, in an interview to the online edition of pro-Fidesz daily Magyar Hírlap, called for the strengthening of “real Christian democratic parties interested in bettering the future of Europe”.
Commenting on Wednesday’s Europe Uncensored conference, Novák, who is also the deputy leader of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz, noted that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa were also joined at the event by Francois-Xavier Bellamy, the head of France’s Republicans in the European Parliament.
She said Bellamy lived by “true right-wing” values and “understands exactly the historical differences between the continent’s eastern and western halves”. Bellamy, she said, was also interested in having a right wing in Europe that was strong and capable of action.
As regards the relationship between Fidesz and its European political grouping, the European People’s Party, Novák noted that she and Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, held talks with leading politicians of Germany’s ruling CDU and CSU parties in Berlin last week. “So the dialogue is ongoing,” she said, adding, however, that there were still disagreements between the two sides, namely on questions such as the extent to which they should get involved in each other’s internal affairs.
“We have a shared future but not all of its elements are the same,” Novák said. “We want to uphold these differences: the freedom to make our own decisions and our sovereignty which every nation is entitled to.”
Novák said the disagreements between Fidesz and the EPP were generally caused by “our not wanting to fall in line on issues that the Hungarian people are against”.
As regards Donald Tusk, the head of the EPP, Novák said he had “put all his eggs in one basket” and was trying to lead the conservative grouping in a way that “suits his own personal Polish domestic political interests”. She said Tusk tended to make comments that represented a minority view. “So he gets a lot of criticism behind closed doors, and rightfully so,” she said. “We think this is how criticism should be expressed within a political family.”
She said Fidesz would expect Tusk to apply the same approach “but he keeps making it clear in public that he’d prefer to see Fidesz outside the EPP and is campaigning against the Hungarian ruling party”. Though Tusk is formally the leader of the EPP, “his remarks only represent is own biased personal views,” Novák added.
However, she said a report being prepared by Bellamy at the request of Manfred Weber, the EPP’s group leader, on what Christian democracy should look like in the 21st century gave her reason for optimism because “Bellamy knows no compromise when it comes to the EPP’s traditional values.”
featured image via Zoltán Balogh/MTI