- 3 Oct 2017 8:50 AM
Hungary recalled its ambassador to the Netherlands last month after Gajus Scheltema, the outgoing Dutch ambassador to Hungary, gave an interview in which he compared the principles of Islamic extremism to those of the Hungarian government.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the European Union’s Digital Summit, Orbán said he had discussed the matter with his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte. “We settled the conflict between the two countries; in fact we like each other and we agree on many issues,” Orbán said.
Hungary’s ambassador to the Netherlands can resume his post in The Hague, he added. In an interview with political weekly 168 Óra last month, Scheltema said that Islamic extremism “applies the same principles to create an enemy as the Hungarian government”.
In reaction, the government decided to suspend ambassadorial-level communication between the two countries for an indefinite period. On the subject of proposals to reform the EU, Orbán said: “We are still far from being able to talk about reform proposals.”
“Right now, all we have is an intent to make Europe competitive again and there are a number of ideas on how to go about it,” he added.
“There are a number of proposals on the table and the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has taken it upon himself to gather these together. In two weeks’ time there will be a framework within which we can discuss the future,” the prime minister said.
On Thursday, more will be known about these proposals; not only has French President Emmanuel Macron put forward proposals but so has Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Luis Santos da Costa and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, he added.
Asked about whether there would be a meeting between the Visegrád Group and Juncker at the end of October or in November, Orbán said: “We always talk to each other, because this is a place where people talk with each other.”
On the subject of the EU Summit on digitalisation, the prime minister said : “The truth is that we so far considered that no joint proposals should be made, but homework should be done instead.” He said Estonia was “the best — better than us” in the area of digitalisation, though Hungary had “nothing to be ashamed of”.
“In Europe, we are likely to be the first to have broadband internet service available in all households, and the 5G system is being built,” he said.
“We have developed this industry from national resources.” He said suggestions would be forthcoming on a common EU policy, possibly with EU funds, and this would likely serve Hungary’s interest.
Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.
MTI photo: PM's press Office Szecsődi Balázs