The European Parliament’s recent resolution expressing concern over Hungary fulfilling the European Union’s rotating presidency next year is “a political opinion which they are trying to sell as a fact, and take in the direction of legislation”, the state secretary for international relations and communications said on Friday.
The interview on news portal Mandiner’s “Reaction” podcast focused on political “attacks” against Hungary, especially an EP resolution adopted on Thursday, which said that Hungary was unfit to fulfil the European Council’s presidency in the second half of 2024. Zoltán Kovács said Hungary’s left wing had been working for 13 years on preparing and promoting “these kinds of resolutions”. But these are “political traps” which they would not be immediately released from, either, if they came to power, he added.
Kovács said the presidency of the Council of the European Union was not a right that could be taken away, but rather an obligation. He said the European Parliament was trying increasingly harder to interfere in areas in which it has no authority under EU law. “This is a political game in which it is important to knock down these little sticks like the European parliamentary resolution because they can later be referenced and lead to the drafting of law or legislation,” Kovács said.
“There is always some topical issue in connection with which they try to apply pressure,” he said, adding that it was “obvious that an anti-Hungarian stance” had become “institutionalised” among left-wing MEPs over the last 13 years. He noted the past “attacks” against Hungary over its media law and position on illegal migration, along with the consequences of Hungary “not falling in line on being pro-war”. He said the EP was “using every possible legal and political tool” against Hungary concerning its position on the war, even though the Hungarian people had made it clear that they want the government to be pro-peace.
Regarding the war in Ukraine, the government has been saying “since day one” that it favours an urgent ceasefire and peace talks, “but each time Hungary deviates from the political direction of the EP’s left-wing majority, they bring out these reports and resolutions that present political opinions as facts, contain lies and serve political goals…” Kovacs said. Their only purpose, he added, was to be referenced later. He said it would be a mistake for Hungary to change its approach of expressing its interests “whether they like it or not”. He said it should also be made clear regarding the Russia-Ukraine war that the sanctions in place are not in central Europe’s interest, arguing that they hurt growth and sent inflation soaring.
“This war won’t end in the foreseeable future, and thousands die every day,” Kovács said. He added that there was “minimal chance” that Ukraine could “achieve the kind of victory western Europeans imagine”, given their losses on the battlefield. Western Europe’s “daydreams driven by bottomless Russophobia and irrational narratives are pointing towards the death of further hundreds and thousands every day, and not towards peace,” he said.
Concerning the political pressure being put on Hungary, Kovács said the government had fulfilled all its commitments. “The big question is if the other side will keep their promise,” he said, adding that he saw “no guarantee” of that happening because “with the pressure that commissioners are under” it was hard to imagine that any of them would dare say that they have concluded negotiations with Hungary.
Kovács said he hoped that the 2024 elections would bring about a fundamental change in the composition of the EP, partly because of how Green and Social Democratic parties “give people lifestyle advice”. Meanwhile, he said the EU’s existing migration rules and inability to “radically reject” migration and protect its borders continued to fuel illegal migration and served as a breeding ground for people smuggling rings.
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