The old differences among European Union member states have become irrelevant; the main source of division now is whether member states wish to be “immigrant countries” or “non-immigrant countries”, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in an interview published in Germany’s Passauer Neue Presse on Thursday.
“Some countries have decided that they want to have a mixed population while others want to stay as they are now,” Orban said:
“For us, this is also a domestic security issue and no one can force their will onto someone else. The key question in Europe is: How are we going to live together like this in the future?”
Orban said this question — at this point — was more about emotions than rationality. The discussion centres mostly on the differences among member states rather than how the issue can be resolved, he said. “But the future of Europe depends on how we answer this question.” Orban said he plans on staying in the political arena and wants his ruling Fidesz party to remain “a strong and solid pillar within the alliance of non-immigrant countries”.
On the topic of the European Court of Justice’s decision to dismiss Hungary and Slovakia’s legal challenge against the EU’s migrant resettlement scheme, Orban said the ruling had said nothing about whether the European Commission even had a right to resettle anyone in Hungary against the will of the Hungarian government. Yet this is the key question, he said.
“We believe that a country’s territory and population are a part of its constitutional identity and that no European body can declare an obligation on the part of the country in question in connection with this,”
– the prime minister said. Orban said that with the exception of one country, no EU member state had implemented the EU’s decision on the redistribution of migrants. In light of this, it would be unfair to single out Hungary for criticism, he said.
On the subject of last week’s parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic, Orban said he would continue to pursue strategic cooperation with that country in the future, too. “I know the winner of the elections there. He is easy to cooperate with,” Orban said of billionaire businessman Andrej Babis.
Asked about the key to Hungary’s economic success, Orban said that his government had created a labour-based society after 2010. The government has targeted full employment and it is “just an arm’s reach away”, he insisted. The other “secret” to Hungary’s success is that “we want to stand on our own two feet”, he said. “We don’t intend to fix the Hungarian economy using German money and we have fully paid back the IMF-EU loan we had taken up to manage the [economic] crisis,” Orban added.
The prime minister was also asked if he felt that Germany was dominating its relations with Hungary. “Germany is bigger, wealthier and stronger than Hungary. But even if we are smaller, Germany must respect Hungary,” Orban said. “And since this is usually the case, we have no reason to complain,” he added.
Asked about German domestic politics and the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party which came third in the country’s federal election last month, Orban said Fidesz’s sister parties there were the CDU and the CSU. “We by nature are loyal and will remain so; we will not look for new allies,” he said.
Central Europe the fastest growing region
Hungary is not an island of success, but a part of central Europe whose countries “will rise together”, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at the inauguration of Japanese tyre maker Bridgestone’s 85 billion forint (EUR 274m) capacity expansion at its plant in Tatabanya, in northwest Hungary, on Thursday. The investment has doubled the size of Bridgestone’s production base and created 500 jobs, Orban said.
Hungary’s government supported the investment with an almost 2.4 billion forint grant, he added. The prime minister called Central Europe the fastest-growing region on the continent. “If we ignore the performance of our countries, there is hardly any growth at all in the European Union,” he said.
Source and photo: MTI