Viktor Orbán’s visit to Vienna has created waves in internal affairs- according to an interview the Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, gave to the Der Standard newspaper. The Austrian opposition is attacking the leader with claims that the conservative Austrian People’s Party will follow Orbán’s politics, since Orbán was the first foreign Prime Minister to be received. Factually this is incorrect, because Dutch Premier Mark Rutte, not Orbán, was the first Prime Minister to visit Kurz in Vienna following his ascension to the Chancellery.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (left) meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Vienna on January 30th (Photo: MTI/ PMO Press Office – Balázs Szecsődi)
In Hungary, Orbán’s visit in Vienna was reported as a huge success, but Kurz stated in the interview that the situation is different, depending on the topic. For example, he agreed with Orbán that the EU needs to defend its borders, but, in regards to the Paks 2 Nuclear Power Plant, the Hungarian and the Austrian governments have opposing views. According to Kurz, the biggest disagreement is, unsurprisingly, the upcoming 2021 EU budget, since Austria is a net contributor, while Hungary is a net beneficiary.
Austria will be appointed to the Presidency of the European Council in the second the half of this year, and it’s expected to reduce the 7-year budget.
The alternative would be for everyone to receive more funds, but this is not my way,
said the Chancellor, who believes that Orbán has seriously differing opinions on this matter. He highlighted that the decision is not his, but that of the 28 member states, and that he, Rutte, and the leaders of the other net contributing countries will have to properly manage the treasuries containing taxpayers’ money.
Kurz was evasive when questioned as to whether Hungary and Poland will be expected to meet political demands in exchange for support, such as solidarity on the matter of refugees and the EU’s quota plan. All he said was: “Naturally, we will also have to discuss this topic.”
In regards to an earlier question, he stated that “A lot of money goes to Eastern European member states, but often even those who receive it aren’t pleased with the amount, and question whether the money is going to the appropriate people. At the same time, in the West, they complain that these member states continue with their anti-European policies.”
The Chancellor maintained solidarity in one subject, the case of Turkey, indicating that he would remove all subsidies: he articulated that, in the next few years, hundreds of millions of Euros would have been given to Turkey, where the government is committing countless human rights violations. On this issue, Kurz argued that
We have to be brave enough to question this.
Images via MTI