In an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán called Hungary’s journey from Soviet influence to the European Union “the life’s work of my comrades and myself”, and said Hungarians had done much to implement the rule of law in the region, “but along objective criteria”.
Answering a question, Orbán said in the interview published on Wednesday that he had not considered pulling Hungary out of the EU. “We are the street fighters of the rule of law,” he said.
However, the EU’s handling of the migration crisis in 2015 was a “great disappointment”, the prime minister said in the interview conducted on Nov 16. “We were told that those who do not accept migrants will not get money. Is this equality?”
Hungary maintains excellent relations with Muslim countries, and provides help to those facing difficulties, he said. “We Hungarians are not anti-Islam … [but] see multicultural society as self-denial, and the protection of Judeo-Christian culture as survival.”
Neither can Hungary be seen as anti-Semitic for its conflict with financier George Soros, he said. “Soros wants something that’s bad for Hungary. He was the first to suggest punishing those who do not allow migrants into the country by depriving them of EU funding … This is a purely political debate,” he said.
The issue of rule of law conditions has to be separated from the EU’s budget and recovery package in order to resolve the impasse in the matter, Orbán said.
“Countries in need want the money quickly — let us give it to them. Others want new rule of law regulations — let’s talk about it. The first needs to be done right away, the second can wait,” Orbán said.
Such regulations require amendments to the Lisbon Treaty, Orbán said, adding that the current method of “gradually changing” regulations was contrary to the rule of law principle.
Should his proposal not be accepted, it will be up to the German presidency to handle the situation, he said.
Featured photo illustration by Vivien Cher Benko/PM’s Press Office