Orbán’s response to the EU

As most of my readers will know, the hysteria about George Soros CEU university is still going on and PM Orbán visited Brussels this week twice.  Please listen to his Wednesday speech in the European Parliament here:

Unfortunately I don’t know about an English language video for  the press conference which Orbán gave in Brussels later on Wednesday.  I’d say that was pretty good indeed. 🙂
After EC president Jean-Claude Juncker had official talks (!) with George Soros in the building of the European Commission on Thursday, obviously to pull strings against Hungary, PM  Orbán attended the meeting  of the European People’s Party, which his Fidesz party is a member of, and the EU summit on Brexit on Saturday.  There wasn’t really much new compared to what you may gleam from the above video.
By “popular demand” (from my Twitter followers), I’ll translate the official press release which summarized his stance at the end of the day. I haven’t seen an English version yet.
Hungary’s prime minister has stated on the executive meeting of the European People’s Party that Hungary’s government is open to cooperation with the European Commission in every unresolved legal issues.
As  we did in the past, we intend to settle the infringement procedures against Hungary via agreements. Hungary’s prime minister has clarified again that the Hungarian government is not adamant about closing George Soros’ Central University in Budapest. However no university may enjoy privileges. Hungarian laws apply to everybody. Higher education institutions, which don’t provide actual education and operate as off-shore mailboxes,  will not be allowed by the Hungarian laws in the future either.
Hungary’s prime minister has clarified that the National Consultation launched by the government is not against Europe. On the contrary, its purpose is to reform the European Union which malfunctions in many respects at the moment and it needs renewal.
The prime minister asked help from the European People’s Party so that the energy union proposal of  the European Commission, which would substantially increase the energy bills of the Hungarian families, should be withdrawn.
Concerning the issue of migration,  he stressed that Hungary is unable to accept the illegal migrants’ unchecked immigration  and the Hungarian government is going to keep the border fence, which defends Hungary and Europe, under any circumstances.
Bertalan Havasi
Manager for the Prime Minister’s Press Office

Hope this helps to clarify the situation.  The global mainstream media is busy posting fake news like “Hungary’s Orbán accepts EU demands”….

Principles first, choosing persons second

Today PM Orbán flew to the EU summit in Brussels and he gave a press conference.  He stressed that the questions of principles must come first before choosing persons for the various positions . (German Chancellor Angela Merkel said before the summit that the latter type of decisions may not be brought today at all.)

Orbán insisted that taxation has to remain on the national level. Moreover he’d want to clarify  if EU is willing to let member states to regulate energy prices on the national level.  He added that it become a practice in the last five years that EU institutions, openly or covertly, reduced national powers and this has to be put to an end.

The member states are protecting their rights and if an imperial centre, like what Brussels is, want to breach them then that’ll generate conflicts.  New European politics doesn’t need more conflicts, it needs more consensus.

Answering a question,  he said the Hungarian government would nominate its EU commissioner when elected president Jean-Claude Juncker would officially request that. He added he had a discussion with Juncker prior to the summit. Commenting on the situation in Ukraine, Orbán said the sanctions against Russia must not proceed to the next (third) stage because that would not be in the interests of either Europe or Hungary.

The summit is mainly about haggling top jobs and that’s rarely a simple matter…  However the deepening crisis in Ukraine makes the choice of a successor to British EU Commissioner Catherine Ashton, as head of the European External Action Service,  an even more sensitive issue  than usual since the USA  has been pressing the  EU recently to toughen sanctions against Moscow.   The United States indicated yesterday they could go alone with increasing the severity of the sanctions against Russia.  Poland and  Baltic countries want a tough stance against Russia but Italy and Germany, which have major economic ties with Russia, are reluctant.  So is Hungary.

 

Anyway, it sounds like Orbán is in combative mood… 🙂  Go, Viki, go!

 

Update:

Eastern EU countries were the main reason for the blockage. They argued that no decision could be taken on the two senior positions before they knew what portfolios would be assigned to “their” national commissioners.

Only the anti-Russia sanctions were extended somewhat  Another extraordinary summit will be held on the 30th of August.

 

 

Orbán press conference after no vote to Juncker

British PM David Cameron and Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán voted ‘no’ for Jean-Claude Juncker  as European Committee chairman.  Cameron requested the voting procedure to take place. He opposed Juncker’s presidency so vehemently that he said this would mean the UK will likely vote for leaving the EU in 2017.  First it was Orbán who announced on the 25th of May, shortly before the EP elections, that  Hungary is not going to support Juncker’s EC presidency. Besides Orbán’s support, initially Cameron also had the backing of the prime ministers of Sweden and the Netherlands.  Moreover Italy’s PM Matteo Renzi and even Germany’s Chancellor Merkel seemed to oppose Juncker. After a series of talks, eventually Merkel changed her mind, probably for internal political reasons, and Italy’s Renzi pulled out of the anti-Juncker group, too.  Sweden and the Netherlands switched sides this Wednesday and they announced their support for Juncker.

Orbán has confirmed he would vote no this morning and he said  the following after the voting:

Voting is the normal procedure  in democracies if no consensus could be reached. This is what happened today and the result was 26 votes for and two votes against.  I myself would have voted no even if I had been alone because this is a question of principle.  Hungary had to send out a clear and strong message: we are not going to agree to trespassing the boundaries of the Basic EU Treaty, even with the  laudable intention of striving for consensus.

He meant that according to the Basic Treaty the Council of Europe  European Council, that is the heads of member states, should nominate the EC chairman but now the candidate of EP election winner, the European People’s Party, the party group which Orbán’s Fidesz is an important member of, was nominated automatically.   Orbán added that if more political room, new rules are needed  then that must be proposed, discussed and then “the Basic Treaty may be modified in a transparent, democratic, well-prepared and thoughful way”.  He said it’s very wrong to reinterpret treaties and this is what happened here.  He also remarked the EU has tried to claim the right to rule on several issues which in fact belong to national competence beyond any doubt. He quoted examples like regulating utility bills, the tax Hungary levied on banks or the law on making distilled spirits (pálinka).  “This practice simply cannot be continued and we are going to defend Hungarian interests”, he added.

In addition this whole issue points well beyond our own interests and beyond the interests of the European People’s Party, too.  In fact I did not vote against one particular person. I voted for changing this established political practice.

Answering a question how Fidesz MEPs will vote in the European Parliament, he said he’s got a very firm opinion but that voting will be a secret ballot.

Orbán answered questions after the voting

He also spoke about that the Hungarian approach won in a few issues concerning the EU strategic policies for the next five years. For example, the previously much attacked economic policy of Hungary that taxes on labour must be decreased has been accepted. He also saw some progress about Hungary’s method of achieving low energy prices via market regulations. He stressed that market regulation is not a goal in itself and  market forces must compete so that the consumers would enjoy better and better quality and lower and lower prices. However in his opinion this principle doesn’t always work and that’s clearly the case in the energy supply market where monopolies are inevitable.

He said that there seems to be some kind of progress in the question of migration, too.

The EU must make it very clear that migration (into EU) must be stopped, that’s the Hungarian stance.  We don’t regard migration a process to be managed, something controllable.

He admitted “the closing statement of the EU summit doesn’t state this so bluntly but it does contain a passage that EU must manage migration much better than so far”.

Finally he said that most of the debates, between the Northern and Southern countries,  were about making the rigid monetary and fiscal rules of EU more flexible.  Orbán said that he stayed out of these debates because  Hungary has treaded her own path in these questions in the recent years.

After the EP elections

The EP elections have been held and they changed the political landscape in Europe… and, to a smaller degree, in Hungary, too. So let’s study the results from that large  sample survey  a bit.   The EP election was purely list-based, with a five percent threshold,  the same rules applied as in other EU countries, so the postcommie left-liberals shouldn’t  really whine about unfair election rules, gerrymandering, disproportionality in the election system, what have you.  (Well, they do.)

The voter turnout in Hungary was lower than in 2009 but this is not much of a surprise:  Hungary had general elections in April.  Besides people know it very well in Hungary, too, that Europe’s decision makers are elected in the national elections.  The Eurocrats in Brussels should get this message at last!  The turnout was still almost 30 percents and that’s quite high compared to 13%, the voter turnout Slovakia, our northern neighbour produced…

First and foremost, let’s note that Fidesz won another landslide victory and the poll result I quoted  was about right for Fidesz.   Fidesz has increased their support to 51.5% in the EP elections from 46% in the general elections and Fidesz was the only Hungarian party which got a higher share of votes than on the 6th of April.  What does this entail for Fidesz and Hungary?  It’s certainly a strong reinforcement for PM Orbán in his European policies.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said already before the election,  in a last minute interview on Saturday, that  “he will not support Jean-Claude Juncker‘s bid to become president of the European Commission even if the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) wins the European elections”.   Orbán became the first EPP leader to publicly break ranks on the issue but it has turned out quickly  he has the support of British Prime Minister David Cameron.  Orbán and Cameron share anti-federalist views concerning the future of EU and Junckers clearly doesn’t.     I think this event signals that Orbán  is becoming a significant player in the European political arena. BTW, let’s also remember what Statfor CEO George Friedman wrote about  Orbán’s balancing act.

 

The distribution of the cast votes

The far-right party Jobbik came second. (Let’s remember that Marine Le Pen’s National Front won in France!)  However they actually lost voter support:  they got only 15% after  20% of the votes in the national elections.

No doubt the biggest impact of the election is on the postcommunist side.  MSZP came only third, they gained only two seats and they actually came in the fourth place in Budapest (which is the most a leftist/left-liberal place in Hungary)!  DK, ex-Socialist PM Gyurcsány’s extremist left-lib party, and Együtt-PM, ex-Socialist PM Bajnai’s left-lib party almost got as many as votes as MSZP.  Gyurcsány is making a comeback on the left-lib dunghill…  This really seems to be a death blow to MSZP, chairman Mesterházy (and then the whole leadership!) unexpectedly resigned a few days after the EP election.

Bajnai was invited to the Bilderberg-table in Denmark yesterday but the awkward political jester,  Gyurcsány seems to be swooping down on dying MSZP.  We’re going to see much blood on the left-lib political stage in the upcoming months.  The local elections will be held in October.

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