Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview on Friday that gaining the European Commission’s enlargement and neighborhood post was Hungary’s “biggest diplomatic success of the past ten years”.
In the interview to public Kossuth Radio, Orbán said that over the past ten years Hungary had never managed to attain comparable influence in the EU, and the post would be “the most important” of the next five years.
He noted that the post covered migration, security and aspects of energy policy, since the Hungarian commissioner would also be dealing with the Caucasus and Azerbaijan.
Orbán said many people had striven to prevent Hungary from capturing the post, and the opposition had joined forces in Brussels to try to prevent Olivér Várhelyi from being appointed, while US financier George Soros, the prime minister insisted, had personally intervened with the same aim in mind.
The PM called Várhelyi an “excellent patriot and a good European”, adding “I would never appoint people who aren’t good patriots or can’t reconcile that with international missions”.
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Commenting on remarks of Donald Tusk, former EU president and newly elected head of the European People’s Party, who said that the right to freedom cannot be sacrificed for security, Orbán said his Fidesz party was “waiting for the EPP to clarify its views and plans”. Orbán said that until that point, Fidesz would “keep its membership” in the party family “suspended”.
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Orbán said a Hungarian ruling party could not belong to a pro-migration political community that failed to support border protection, the border fence, or denied respect to Hungarians and appreciation for the country’s efforts in protecting Europe.
The EPP has “drifted to the left”, Orbán said, adding that there was a question mark over whether the new leader would restore the original state of affairs. “If he doesn’t, we will have to build a new community,” he said.
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The “migration debate”, which Orbán said would be one of the most important issues of the next five years, needs a “good closure”. European leaders, he added, had made two great mistakes in the past years. One pertains to migration and the other to economy, he said. The latter put the euro zone in a “dire situation … they have hard years ahead of them.” He said NGOs that worked on “flooding Europe with migrants” were the “enemies of Europe”.
Speaking of recent meetings of the Hungarian Permanent Conference and the Diaspora Council, Orbán said that spiritual ties and economic ties had strengthened recently, enhancing national cohesion. He said those ties and trade with its neighbours were at the root of Hungary’s strong economic performance.
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Orbán accused some opposition parties of standing against cross-border Hungarian communities. He added that it was good that Hungarians in neighbouring countries have their own political representation.
Featured photo illustration by Tamás Kovács/MTI