Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Monday said Martin Schulz, the former head of Germany’s Social Democratic party and President of the European Parliament between 2012 and 2017, “had been attacking Hungary for years” for defending its borders and not accepting migrants.
Schulz, in an interview with German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, accused the Hungarian government of oppressing the media, of anti-Semitism and of profiteering.
Orbán in response said in a letter that media outlets in Hungary enjoyed more freedom and represented more varied viewpoints than their German counterparts.
As regards the charge of anti-Semitism, Orbán said
“openly anti-Semitic abuse and harassment of Jewish persons, as it still happens in Germany,” was inconceivable in Hungary.
Orban said Schulz’s “greatest fib” pertained to European Union funding. “Schulz and many other Germans pretend Germany is giving money to poorer countries and are net contributors,” he said. In truth, those countries are the net beneficiaries of the European single market. “They give some of their profit [from the single market] back to other member states through the EU budget, much of which then ends up with them again,” Orbán said.
It is “hypocritical to expect us to be grateful for that,” Orbán said.
Richer countries of the European Union, “with Germany at the top”, take some 6 billion euros out of Hungary annually, “under various titles”, Orbán said. Meanwhile, Hungary annually receives an average of 4 billion euros from the EU budget, he said.
“The situation is clear. Hungary’s EU membership is not costing Germany money, they are profiting from us,”
Germany’s advantage is due to [Western Germany’] being able to amass capital for 45 years “while Hungary was constantly plundered by Soviet communists,” Orban said.
But the West’s competitive edge is dwindling, and — partly due to the EU’s convergence policy — will disappear with Central Europe catching up by the end of the 2020s, Orban said. “Until then, we would like to ask Mr Schulz and his comrades for a little more restraint,” Orbán said in his letter, a copy of which was sent to MTI.