The west's inherited (economic) competitive advantage is decreasing because Central Europe is catching up and, by the end of the 2020s, there will be a level playing field. "In the meantime, we ask Mr Schulz and his colleagues to exercise more self-restraint", PM Viktor Orban wrote on Monday, replying to the former president of the German Social Democratic Party. Orban stressed that Martin Schulz has been attacking Hungary for years because it protects its borders and refuses to take in immigrants, "even though the connection between these two issues is obvious", he added.
In a letter sent to the Hungary's state news agency (MTI), Viktor Orban reacted to the remarks of Martin Schulz who - speaking recently to Deutschlandfunk radio - accused Hungary of suppressing the press, anti-Semitism and economic free-riding.
In his reply, PM Orban made clear that Martin Schulz was wrong because, contrary to his claims, the press in Hungary is freer and more diverse than in Germany. "With regard to anti-Semitism, the open harrassment and abuse of Jews, which can still happen in Germany, is unimaginable in Hungary" the prime minister wrote.
He pointed out that Martin Schulz has been attacking Hungary for years because the country protects its borders and refuses to take in migrants, "even though the connection between these two issues is obvious," he added.
According to the prime minister, Martin Schulz's "biggest lie" concerns EU funds. "Schulz and many other Germans act as if they were giving money to poorer countries and were net contributors. However, the opposite is true: they are the net beneficiaries of the European economic system called the single market. They return some of the profits they make in the single market to other member states through the European Union's budget, most of which, once again, tends to return to them," he pointed out.
This is the reality of the balance of economic power in Europe, and we must live with it, Viktor Orban said, adding that "it is serious hypocrisy on behalf of certain German politicians to expect us to be grateful for this".
He pointed out that richer states in the European Union, with Germany in the lead, take approximately 6 billion euros out of Hungary annually, while Hungary receives around 4 billion euros a year from the EU budget.
"The situation is clear. Hungary's EU membership does not cost Germany money. Germany makes money on us", the prime minister's reply reads.
Moreover, he adds, Germany's advantage is not due to Germans' greater degree of diligence or knowledge, "This is simply because Hungary has been under Soviet occupation, which only affected a third of Germany. For 45 years West Germany has been able to accumulate capital, while we have been constantly looted by the Soviet-communists." - he wrote.
Hungary's premier underlined: the west's inherited competitive advantage is decreasing, because Central Europe is catching up, and by the end of the 2020s - in part due to the European Unon's convergence politics – we will have a level playing field. "In the meantime, we ask Mr Schultz to exercise more self-restraint," PM Orban added.