Viktor Orbán, in a joint press release with the French president issued before a meeting with the Visegrad Group (V4) on Monday, said: “We are in agreement when it comes to patriotism, strengthening Europe and [Europe’s] strategic autonomy.”
Without a European defence industry, the Hungarian prime minister said, there is no strategic autonomy. Nuclear energy and agricultural self-sufficiency are also related prerequisites, he added.
“This is why we are in favour of a joint European defence policy, nuclear energy, and a strong agricultural sector in Europe,” Orbán said, adding that chances of successful negotiations were high.
He noted the last time a French president visited Hungary was in 2007.
Hungary, Orban said, respected President Macron, adding that “since France is home to the Encyclopaedists”, he accepted the definition the French president had recently applied to them both: “We’re both political opponents and European partners”.
Macron urged European cooperation when it comes to protecting the bloc’s external borders. Though France and Hungary have their disagreements, France is a loyal partner of Hungary and pro-European, the president said.
France values patriotism and the mutual respect it and the other member states have for each other, Macron said. Underscoring the importance Europe’s defence policy and shared capacities, Macron thanked Hungary for its commitment to the fight against terrorism.
As regards France and Hungary’s shared interests, Macron mentioned the space industry and energy sovereignty, which, he noted, they both aimed to achieve by reducing gas imports and relying more on nuclear energy.
Concerning the two countries’ disagreements, Macron emphasised the importance of media pluralism, respect for the rule of law and dialogue aimed at finding common ground.
The president said his talks with Orbán would touch on the issues of digitalisation, migration policy and the rule of law.
featured image via MTI/PM’s Press Office/Zoltán Fischer