Hungarian Permanent Conference held in Budapest
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán spoke about central Europe gaining strength as compared to the German-French axis in Europe, at a meeting of the Hungarian Permanent Conference (MÁÉRT) held behind closed doors in Budapest on Friday.
On a recording posted onto the government’s website, Orbán said the volume and value of German-French trade make up merely half of the one between the Visegrad Group and Germany which he called “an unprecedented development”.
The prime minister said he had predicted earlier that central Europe, including the Carpathian Basin, would become the engine of Europe’s economic growth in the years to come.
Orbán said the accession of Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia to the European Union would be a major step towards enhancing central Europe’s importance in geopolitical terms.
“The reunification of the Balkans is a shared interest of the EU, central Europe and Hungary,” he said.
Addressing relations with Croatia, Orbán said that the Hungarian government had always considered the dispute concerning national oil and gas company Mol an inter-company affair rather than an inter-governmental issue.
“I have tried to explain to them that lifting the Mol dispute to inter-governmental level would justify more forceful action by the Hungarian state which would do major damage to bilateral relations,” he said.
Legal conflicts between companies need to be judged by international courts and the Hungarian state will accept all their decisions in order to settle the conflict, he said.
The prime minister said he would pay an official visit to Croatia in early December.
Orbán expressed hope that large cross-border projects can be implemented in Croatia’s Slavonia region and southern Baranya in Hungary.
Commenting on Slovenia, Orbán said that Marjan Sarec, the new prime minister, was performing without fault in all international forums but promoted a different line in migration than Hungary, supporting the UN migration package.
Orbán added, however, that Hungary’s plan to participate in the development of the Koper port and the extension of the rail link there would not be realised. As a consequence,
the Hungarian government has started talks on access to a port and investment opportunities with Trieste instead of Koper, he added.
Commenting on western Europe, Orbán said that “west of Vienna the situation is hopeless in terms of demographics” because multiculturalism has triggered nearly irreversible social trends in large cities. It will be “spectacular” to witness how the structure and order of political representation will change there, he added.
Assessing economic development programmes funded by Hungary abroad, Orbán said it makes no sense supporting businesses which are then exposed to reprisals by the state that exercises supreme power. Hungary therefore asks the ethnic Hungarian parties to secure through negotiations the majority nation’s consent to such programmes, he said.
This is what happened in Romania where Hungary is now able to implement economic development programmes with the agreement of the majority nation, he said.
Orbán said the MEPs of the Romanian house speaker’s party, even if they belong to the Liberal group, had voted against the Sargentini report that condemned Hungary in the European Parliament. As a consequence, the European lawmakers of Hungary’s governing parties unanimously supported Romania in a vote on an EP resolution that attacked that country earlier this week.
Regarding Slovakia, Orbán said the Hungarian-Slovak Most-Hid party posed a problem of structural nature, raising the question whether mixed inter-ethnic parties or ethnic-based parties are more useful in the region. Orbán warned it would be “fatally dangerous” to change over to mixed inter-ethnic based representation which he called “a trap to be avoided”.
Orbán described Serbian-Hungarian relations as “unprecedented”, adding that the past few years had seen efforts to raise them to strategic level. He appreciated the Hungarian and Serbian presidents’ efforts to pave the way for historic reconciliation.
Hungary would be happy if Serbia’s legal regulations were generally followed in the Carpathian Basin as a whole, he said, adding that cultural autonomy has been practically achieved.
Commenting on Ukraine, Orbán said
Hungary “is not getting on” with the leaders of that country. “We come to an agreement on Monday and next day they say that no agreement has been reached,” he said, accusing the Ukrainian leaders of failing to take the negotiations seriously.
Their latest proposals, he said, made things even worse, and the open deployment of the secret services against ethnic Hungarians and suspected dual citizens went beyond what is tolerable in the Carpathian Basin.
Hungary can do only one thing, making it clear that the only road for Ukraine to NATO and the EU leads through Hungary and Budapest, Orbán said.