Before visiting Slovakia and the Czech Republic this weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron provided written answers to the questions of selected outlets of the Visegrad countries. Hungarian HVG.hu, Czech Hospodárske Noviny, Polish Rzeczpospolita and Slovakian SME got the opportunity for a joint interview. He spoke to HVG.hu about Viktor Orban and the rule of law in Hungary too.
“We can’t profit from the European budget without taking joint responsibility for handling migration for example. We can’t reduce our contributions to the budget without understanding what the common market means. If we want to kill Europe, we should continue like this,”
Macron said, after he was asked about one of his previous statements, in which he had said Europe is not a supermarket, where profit comes from the membership but joint responsibility is not necessary.
When asked whether he supports the Article 7 procedure against Hungary, the French president said:
“The state of the rule of law in Hungary is worrying. Several measures are distorting the separation of powers, and the NGO laws are making the work of these organisations much harder. The European Parliament’s report highlighted some tendencies. Talking and worrying about it doesn’t mean that we are lecturing from the outside, it means we protect our common goods.”
According to Macron the EU can’t punish discal deficit if it doesn’t punish democratic deficit. It was also mentioned in the interview that the Hungarian prime minister is portraying the French president as his main opponent in next year’s European elections.
“I’m leading no personal campaign and my relationship with Viktor Orban is good, I respect him both personally and as the elected prime minister of the Hungarian people,”
Macron stated. He added: he continues to fight for European values and identity.
According to the French president,
“a Europe which looks down on the diversity of views and faiths, the freedom of judiciary and press, the accession of refugees who flee political persecution, it’s nothing but the betrayal of ourselves”.
In the interview it was also mentioned that the governments of Hungary and Poland use their debates with Brussels to prove their voters that they are doing the right thing. Macron said:
“Finding a scapegoat can help in the short run, but in the long run it leads to the worst results”.
He added that he rejects the idea of external pressure because we are Europe, it’s not abroad.
“When Europe writes a cheque nobody says it’s dirty money. But when it protects our values, suddenly it’s a distant enemy,”
the French president added.