Hungarian foreign minister: we are under continuous attack from Brussels
"We are under a continuous attack," Hungary's foreign minister told BBC's HardTalk on Thursday.
The Hungarian government is under continuous attack from Brussels. Whatever the cabinet decides, the European institutions find a way to put some pressure on the country, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on BBC’s HardTalk, aired in the UK on Thursday, the Hungarian state news agency (MTI) reports.
“We definitely have debates with the institutions in Brussels. Actually we are under a continuous attack, whatever we decide European institutions find a way to put some pressure on us and try to blackmail us in order to change our decisions and not take advantage of our national competencies,” the FM said in response to the statement that the relationship between Hungary and the European Union appears to be ever more dysfunctional.
The key issue in the debate is the EU’s future, how we can make the European Union stronger and there are two major approaches in this regard, he said. There is a federalist approach, which is represented by the institutions themselves, which would like to create a kind of United States of Europe, which “we definitely oppose”, he said. There is another approach, now in minority, which is represented by Hungary as well. “This approach says we need a strong European Union, but a strong European Union must be based on strong member states.” That is why Hungary is against Brussels taking over additional competencies from member states, Peter Szijjarto pointed out.
He underlined that the Hungarian government was not going to change its approach, noting that the government acted according to common European values and common European regulations. “We are a conservative, Christian democratic, patriotic government with a very stable background in parliament and in society, which gives a very-very minor, very small room for external interference” into the country’s affairs, he added, emphasizing that in his view, this is the biggest problem of those attacking the Hungarian government. “We are always happy to discuss concrete issues, issue by issue, regulation by regulation,” he said, stressing that Hungary is ready to take part in debates and dialogues, but putting forward perceptions does not make any sense.
The foreign minister described the latest rule of law report as a politically motivated, biased, unbalanced, unfair, blackmailing type of document. In his assessment, the European Commission uses the EU funds for blackmailing, and intervening in domestic policy issues which are solely based on national competencies. This is absolutely unacceptable, he said. Hungary has been contributing to the European economic achievement, which the European funds are based upon. These do not depend on the “generosity of our friends in Brussels ”, they are not humanitarian donations, but money from European taxpayers, including the Hungarian people. Blackmailing people with not making these funds available based on political issues is simply unacceptable, it goes against European values and rules, he added. Mr Szijjarto also noted that even without the releasing of the recovery funds, his country would be able to achieve a significant GDP growth by the end of the year.
Responding to questions on the Child Protection Act, the minister said that education on sexual orientation is the exclusive responsibility of parents and authorised staff. The government bans that activists from certain NGOs enter the schools and kindergartens and “talk to our children, without our permission and our knowledge, about sexual orientation,” the minister said. Mr Szijjarto called it shameful what the president of the European Commission did, saying that last time it was in communism that the judgement took place before the trial.
The minister stated he was sure that the law that the Hungarian parliament had passed was absolutely in line with the European regulations. The European Charter of Fundamental Rights says that the parents do have the right to ensure that the education of their kids is in conformity with their social, pedagogical and psychological aspects. He noted that education was a national competence. With the child protection referendum, the government provides an opportunity for the people to clearly express their opinions and everybody should respect that.
Responding a question about a spyware developed in Israel being used for tapping phones also in Hungary, Mr Szijjarto said since they had taken office in 2010, they had not monitored and had not wiretapped anybody in an illegal way. No one was wiretapped “just because of being a journalist or not being friendly to the government”, he said.
Regarding the statement of Dutch PM Mark Rutte, saying Hungary has no place in the EU, he responded saying the Dutch premier hates the Hungarians, he is “kind of Hungarophobic.” Hungary has been in the European Union and will be in the European Union, and will be working for a strong European Union in the future as well, Peter Szijjarto said at the end of the interview.