Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, told an event celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Hungarian-German friendship agreement that EU member states that had ambitions for making changes to rules that went beyond the European basic treaties would have to reach a consensus with all member states first.
Sticking to the European Union’s basic treaties is of the utmost importance, Gulyás said, adding that any deviation from the current state of affairs was possible only by amending the EU treaties themselves.
“If we can agree on this, we won’t get into great trouble because we’ll either reach an agreement or the current framework will remain,” Gulyás said at the event in Budapest on Monday.
Enhanced cooperation created by the Lisbon Treaty would grow, he said, noting the euro zone and Schengen among them.
Gulyás said, however, that
EU member states had “differing societies … a fact we cannot, and would not, change.”
The social policies of Germany’s recently elected government would be unpalatable for Hungarian voters, he insisted. The Hungarian government “would never presume to envision German social policies … and we hope others do not want to make our policies instead of the Hungarian government,” he said.
Regarding the Hungary-German friendship agreement, Gulyás said it had seen “spectacular developments” in both countries as well as in mutual cooperation: Germany’s trade with the Visegrad Group is twice the volume of its trade with France, he said.
On cultural ties, Gulyás noted
Hungary is the only non-German speaking country where German-language education is available from kindergarten to university.
Gulyás also touched on what he called the German news agency dpa’s “falsifying the words” of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s keynote speech last weekend. Germany, a large and multi-faceted country, “has a press with worryingly little diversity,” he said.
Hungary “is the EU country most committed to the rule of law, democracy and freedom,” he said, noting that the incumbent prime minister, president and house speaker all fought for those values during the communist rein. “That is why we are reluctant to accept lecturing on the issue,” he added.
Matthias Roessler, the speaker of the Saxon regional parliament, said
Germany “will never forget that Hungarians were the first to blow a hole in the Iron Curtain.”
Central Europe is gaining importance in Europe, he said. Central Europeans, including Saxony and Hungary, “are the living core of Europe”, he said. That confidence is essential to weathering the challenges of the 21st century, he said.
Roessler praised Hungary’s policies for ethnic minorities, which “protects and strengthens the identity of ethnic Germans in Hungary.”
In a message, Johannes Haindl, Germany’s ambassador to Hungary, praised cultural cooperation between the two countries. At the same time, he insisted that “political differences in certain areas have grown into ideological culture wars”. The Lisbon Treaty ensures that national values are maintained rather than threatened, he said. “Germany continues to put an emphasis on partnership, dialogue and the cooperation of equals,” he said.