Government: Hungary wants changes in EU, not leave it – UPDATE
Budapest, April 20 (MTI) – Hungary does not intend to leave the EU but wants structural changes so all members can thrive, government office chief János Lázár told a conference on Thursday.
Speaking at the Hungarian Business Leaders Forum (HBLF), Lázár called Britain leaving the European Union a “historic mistake” but said it might open new avenues to structural changes in EU integration. Hungary and the other members of the Visegrad 4 group agree that this should be done along national interests, he said.
The European socialists’ approach to deepen integration in order to maintain competitiveness is contrary to Hungary’s interests, Lázár added. The European socialists have decided to “marginalise” Hungary and all countries standing up for national interests and sovereignty. This is aided by the EU’s conservative parties being “lamed” by Brexit, he said.
The most important subject of debate in the near future is whether member states should hand over authority on areas like taxation and welfare to the EU or try to excercise their existing competencies better, Lázár said. Hungary has been consequently for boosting the country’s competitiveness by keeping those competencies, he said.
Speaking about the migration crisis, Lázár said Hungary was subjected to “double standards”, with Austria being praised for “treading roughshod over European law” and Hungarian efforts to abide by Schengen regulations being slammed. The European Commission and Hungary’s standpoints are “as far apart as ever”, he said, adding that the European Commission is preparing “to use legal means to force Hungary to accept migrants” from other EU states and to adopt more liberal border procedures.
István Ujhelyi, a MEP and deputy leader of the Hungarian Socialist Party, said in response that it is the European right, not the left, that wants to punish Hungary.
Lázár was “deliberately lying and misleading the public” when hinting about “some sort of European, left-wing conspiracy” against Hungary, Ujhelyi said. “Accordingly, Lazar is serving the government’s anti-European, pro-Russian propaganda.”
In fact, European People’s Party leaders and politicians of parties that promote Christian-Conservative values “are talking about the possible exclusion” of the ruling Fidesz party led by Viktor Orbán in response to its policies, he insisted, referring to an EPP spokesman indicating that the EU might apply sanctions under Article 7 against Hungary, adding that EC President Jean-Claude Juncker, also of the EPP, had also urged measures against the country.