In László Trócsányi, Hungary nominated an excellent man as its European commissioner, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview to public radio on Friday.
In his regular interview to Kossuth Radio, the prime minister said his critics could at best claim from their point of view that Trócsányi came from “the wrong place because he is Hungarian”. “But we are so many of us Hungarian that we cannot accept this objection,” he added.
Commenting on the importance the EU’s neighbourhood and enlargement policy, he noted that Trócsányi’s duties would cover relations with the Western Balkans, Ukraine, the Caucasus and north Africa, which, he added, were all important from the point of view of migration.
Orbán said that in the course of Trócsányi’s European parliamentary hearing “further hot moments” were expected, but his personal aptitude was the key issue. He praised Trócsányi’s “intellectual ability” and noted Trócsányi’s achievements such as his many years of experience in the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters.
Orbán said that trends in diplomacy in recent months had been good for Hungary’s national interests. He said Visegrad countries had strengthened and the IMF was on course to be led by a Bulgarian, he said.
Commenting on EU enlargement, he said western Europe had tired of it and explained away their own political and economic failure by blaming it on the previous round of enlargement. Had the EU integrated Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, illegal migrants would not have reached Germany in 2015, he argued, adding that he sought to convince EU leaders of the importance of enlargement, noting a joint statement by the Visegrad group’s prime ministers at their recent Prague summit in its favour.
Commenting on the post of commissioner for the protection of the European way of life, Orbán said it was “sad” that some people were attacking the portfolio. The chief responsibility of every politician, he insisted, was to protect people’s way of life. He added that the debate was over nature of migration and most Europeans saw it as a threat.
Asked about outgoing commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s description of Orbán in a recent interview as a nationalist rather than a European politician, Orbán said: “I’m European because I’m Hungarian; if I were not Hungarian I wouldn’t be able to be European.” The EU, he added, must be built on nations, their identities and their pride.
He said the starting point of Hungary’s strategy was to create stability, and this involved strengthening the Visegrad Group and its strong relationship with other neighboring countries. Further, alliances must be made with “old” EU member states in order to achieve goals such as border protection. Austria, he added, had been just such a country and “hopefully after the Austrian election the old situation will be restored”.
Orbán Hopes Austria Will Have ‘Stable Government that Rejects Political Islam’
He said Italy was also a key player in protecting the bloc’s maritime borders. He said Matteo Salvini, the former interior minister, was “a great friend of Hungary” who had been forced out of his position, but his absence was keenly felt since Italy had returned to “a dangerous leftist policy of taking in migrants and demanding their relocation”.
Asked about graft in Hungary, Orbán said that “if there were corruption there would be no economic development”. He added that whereas “corruption is everywhere”, the problem was not decisive.
On family policy, the prime minister said he was considering the details of a second and third family protection action plan.
Featured photo illustration by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI