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The government has managed to enforce the declared will of Hungarians who voted in the European Parliament elections by getting people into top European Union posts who respect nations and oppose migration, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a public radio interview on Friday.

Orbán insisted that many of Europe’s problems were linked to leaders in the EU who supported migration.

He said Socialist candidate Frans Timmermans, “the candidate of [US billionaire George] Soros” had been torpedoed. Meanwhile, the European People’s Party’s Manfred Weber, the prime minister added, would not end up as head of the European Commission because he had spoken “disrespectfully about the citizens of several countries, including Hungary”.

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“Westerners and central Europe agreed on German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen,” Orbán added. The Visegrad Group had ranked her third on its list, and there would now be a chance that the commission presidency would make Europe strong while respecting national interests, he said. He also highlighted the economic performance and political stability of the group that “promotes the interests of 63 million people with due weight”.

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Orbán said central Europe was backed by Croatia and Romania when it came to nominating top European officials.

Concerning von der Leyen, Orbán said that selecting “a German mother of seven” in itself showed “the winds of change” in Brussels. He added that it would be premature to celebrate at this stage, however, because the past five years had witnessed “many mistakes in Brussels” concerning terrorism, public security, migration and the economy, which “need to be remedied”.

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Answering a question concerning ruling Fidesz MEP Lívia Járóka’s support for opposition Democratic Coalition MEP Klára Dobrev’s candidacy for EP vice president — a gesture unreciprocated by Dobrev — Orbán said “the right is a nationalist force while the left is internationalist” and “standing up for the homeland is a moral obligation on the right, but this is obviously not the case on the left.”

“For the left … harming Hungary is not too high a price to pay for weakening its right wing,” he added.

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Concerning the fiscal policy of the EU in the next five years, Orbán said that Hungary is no longer dependent on EU funding, adding that Hungary’s economy could thrive without those funds. “But, of course, it is easier to succeed if the EU budget also supports Hungary’s goals.”

On another subject, Orbán said that the migration pressure on Europe would continue to grow. Europe’s “pro-migration leaders” have so far supported border control measures “aimed at legalising illegal migration”, he insisted. Hungary, on the other hand, seeks to resolve issues around its shrinking population through family support measures, he added.

Orbán insisted that pro-migration politicians owed their support to “aggressive, opaquely funded fake civil organisations” that were in a minority when it came to views on migration. He added that the “international networks behind them, with George Soros as an emblematic figure” wanted to create the idea western Europeans were “welcoming migrants with open arms”. He said such organisations had received large sums from the EU budget. Hungary wants to stop NGOs from accessing EU monies that support such organisations, Orbán said. Funding for such groups should be up to member states, he added.

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Concerning the Slovak president’s visit to Budapest, Orbán said that Zuzana Caputova liked, appreciated and respected Hungarians, and she had spoken with respect about Hungarians living in Slovakia. It was also clear that she regarded V4 cooperation as important and she wanted it to endure, Orbán said.

Regarding the 2020 budget on which parliament will vote today, Orbán said the government was intent on not running deficits in the future but ensuring surpluses instead. With today’s vote, a new era could begin and the country would gradually turn into a lender rather than a borrower, he said. Orbán also underlined that family support had doubled since 2010 and he highlighted measures to provide free textbooks and meals for school children.

Parliament Approves 2020 Budget

On defence spending, the prime minister said that thanks to the country’s “balanced development”, the government would not have to skimp on spending, adding that Hungary must be able to defend itself from two directions at the same time. Everyone, he added, should possess the basic skills to defend their homeland, and this would be an important aspect of young people’s education and this would form a basic part of the national core curriculum.

Featured photo illustration by Balázs Mohai/MTI

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