Today at 6 pm, the meeting of the EU ambassadors will start in Brussels, which may mark another important milestone in the Hungary versus Brussels saga, politico.eu believes. Hungary’s decisions may affect the prospects of the Hungarian economy and the forint since they may lift the EU billions blocked due to concerns over corruption and rule-of-law problems.
Politico.eu wrote today that Budapest would “decide today whether to lift its veto on a EUR 18 billion aid package for Ukraine and a minimum global corporate tax rate in exchange for EU countries’ approval of its economic recovery plan.” All three issues will be on the agenda of a meeting of EU ambassadors starting today at 6 pm.
Meanwhile, forint started to plunge after last week’s news that there would be no EU-Hungary agreement over the EU funds. Hungary may receive 5.8 billion euros of the COVID recovery funds, but part or all of the development fund (EUR 7.5 billion) may remain blocked for years. We wrote about that issue, and a confidential European Commission letter leaked in THIS article. The European Council must decide on that issue by 19 December.
The recent controversy in the European Union has shown that “if debates are based on feelings towards a country, rather than facts, that will dismantle the European Union,” the prime minister’s chief of staff said on Monday. Speaking on The Bold Truth about Hungary, a podcast of state secretary Zoltán Kovács, Gergely Gulyás said that the European Commission had launched its conditionality procedure against Hungary after the general elections there, “making political motivations all the more likely.”
Hungary, “trying to handle the situation on legal terms”, specified 17 requirements with the European Commission and subsequently fulfilled them, Gulyás said. A political debate ensued, which the EC could not stay away from, he said. “If issues like this are judged not by the facts but by whether a member state’s government is likeable, or whether they are close to the mainstream or not, that will sooner or later dismantle the EU,” Gulyás exclaimed. The EU’s primary interest should be to preserve the unity needed for decision-making, he added.
Hungary has done more than enough to reach an agreement with the EC, “but it seems the body is unable to form an objective opinion, and so the European Council will be hopefully more reliable in the conditionality procedure,” Gulyás said. Hungary’s stance on the war in Ukraine has also been represented falsely, he said. “Instead of political qualifications, we focus on facts.” Russia’s attack on Ukraine was doubtless aggression, a breach of international law, Gulyás explained. But the EU sanctions have put the European economy in an impossible situation, “or at least in a very difficult one”. Hungary and the EU are in disagreement on the latter point, he added.
As a result, the European press has cast Hungary as having “some sort of special relationship with Russia, that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the Prime Minister have an overly amicable rapport, which is not true.” Central European countries are generally more dependent on Russian energy sources than others, Gulyás said, insisting that “the Czechs and Slovaks, while failing to fight for exemptions [from the sanctions], were happy to get them thanks to our fight.”
Democracy, a common European value, should mean that Hungary’s government is respected as the one commanding the strongest mandate from voters since 1990 in Hungary, Gulyás said. The European press, however, “can only speak in one voice and pushes a left-liberal green ideology everywhere.” Hungary’s multifaceted press allows more varied political opinions than anywhere else in the continent, and offers real alternatives for the people, he added.
Regarding the campaign of financing the opposition, Gulyás said that a party coalition had accepted billions of forints worth of funding from abroad during the election campaign. The goal of their financers was to topple the incumbent government, he said. The scandal “would be all over the major news outlets of the world had it involved the government parties,” he said. Instead, the “clear and gross violation of the law” is being swept under the rug in the western press, he said.
Source: politico.eu, MTI