When Brussels approved the sanctions against Russia this past summer, “this was not what they promised”, ruling Fidesz’s parliamentary group leader said on Sunday, adding that Europeans had been “deceived”.
In addition to this being an economic problem, it is also a moral and political one, Mate Kocsis told public broadcaster Kossuth Rádió. The European Union is facing a level of inflation not seen in decades, he said. This has a serious effect on the bloc’s eastern and southern member states, including the central European Visegrad Group, he said, adding that inflation, rising energy prices, the war in Ukraine and the related sanctions were all closely linked.
“The Brussels elite even fails to realise that the sanctions have made Russia richer and Europe poorer,” Kocsis said. Rising energy prices have generated Russia 158 billion euros in revenues, half of which had been paid by the EU, he said.
Kocsis said EU decision-makers had insisted that the sanctions would cause no harm to Europe, “yet Germany now has a foreign trade deficit, which until now had only happened twice since the second world war”. In Hungary and other countries, the three to four-fold rise in energy prices has pushed inflation to 15-20 percent, he said.
Concerning the government’s decision to extend the price caps on fuel and basic foodstuffs, Kocsis said that without the price caps, inflation could be up to 50 percent higher. These decisions protect the economy, businesses and the people, he added. European leaders, he said, should admit that the only solution would be to lift the energy sanctions.
The European Parliament should focus on real problems, Justice Minister Judit Varga told Portuguese daily Diario de Noticias. In an interview with the paper published online on Saturday, the minister branded the European Parliament’s recent rule-of-law report saying that Hungary was no longer a full democracy but rather an “electoral autocracy” as “nonsense”.
“The European Parliament is, by definition, a political institution, therefore it operates with majorities of political ideologies,” Varga said. “There was a similar report four years ago and now, four years later, we have this one. Their political mission is to carry out a witch hunt against a country which doesn’t accept having its political ideology determined by the European Parliament.”
“We are members of the European club, but national interests take priority for us,”
the minister said. Varga noted that times were tough, with energy prices soaring, a war going on in Hungary’s neighbourhood and “a recession on the horizon”. “The European Parliament should therefore deal with the real problems,” she said. “You can’t cry wolf for 12 years. This Hungarian government came to power in 2010 and has been working in the interests of the Hungarian people ever since.”
Varga said the government’s opponents would not be satisfied “until there’s a liberal government in power in Hungary”. She said the EP did not respect freedom, democracy or human dignity, and was disrespectful of the Hungarian people. Meanwhile, the minister said Hungary was engaged in “very constructive talks” with the European Commission about “real issues”.
She agreed that it was unfair to make the payout of post-pandemic recovery funds conditional on the respect for the rule of law. The European budget has nothing to do with how people raise their children or what they think about immigration, the minister said.
“There should not be conditions just because we have a different mindset in relation to family policy,” Varga said. “I believe the Commission is part of the solution, and the European Parliament is doing its political work.”
You may read the full interview in Portuguese HERE