Hungary does not intend to leave the EU but wants structural changes so all members can thrive, government office chief János Lázár told a conference. Speaking at the Hungarian Business Leaders Forum (HBLF), Lázár called Brexit a “historic mistake” that might nevertheless open new avenues to structural changes in EU integration. Hungary and the other members of the Visegrad Four group agree that this should be done along the lines of national interests, he said.
Lázár said the European Socialists saw deepening integration as the answer to maintaining competitiveness. But this, he added, goes against Hungary’s interests, which lie in protecting its sovereignty.
The European Socialists have decided to “marginalise” Hungary and any country that stands up for its national interests, he said, insisting that European conservative parties, “lamed” by Brexit, are now aiding and abetting their Socialist rivals.
The most important subject of debate in the near future is whether member states should hand over authority on areas like taxation and welfare to the EU or try to exercise their existing competencies better, Lázár said. Hungary’s route to boosting its competitiveness is keeping those competencies, he added.
Speaking about the migration crisis, Lázár said Hungary was being subjected to “double standards”, with Austria praised for “riding roughshod over European law” and Hungarian efforts to abide by Schengen regulations slammed.
The European Commission and Hungary’s standpoints are “as far apart as ever”, he said, adding that the commission is preparing “to use legal means to force Hungary to accept migrants” from other EU states and to adopt more liberal border procedures. István Ujhelyi, a MEP and deputy leader of the Hungarian Socialist Party, said in response that it is the European right, not the left, that wants to punish Hungary.
Lázár was “deliberately lying and misleading the public” when hinting about “some sort of European, left-wing conspiracy” against Hungary, Ujhelyi said.
“Accordingly, Lázár is serving the government’s anti- European, pro-Russian propaganda.” In fact, European People’s Party leaders and politicians of parties that promote Christian-Conservative values “are talking about the possible exclusion” of the ruling Fidesz party led by Viktor Orbán in response to its policies, he insisted, referring to an EPP spokesman indicating that the EU might apply sanctions under Article 7 against Hungary, adding that EC President Jean- Claude Juncker, also of the EPP, had also urged measures against the country.
Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.
MTI photo: Koszticsák Szilárd