Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview broadcast on public Kossuth Radio that he could only support an “anti-migration candidate who respects Europe’s nations and protects Christian culture” when it comes to selecting the new president of the European Commission. “We have such candidates in reserve, more than one,” he said, but declined to mention names. He added that the Visegrad countries would support one or another candidate unanimously. “Those times are over when the Germans and the French decided over important European issues; the Visegrad countries are now to be taken into consideration with equal weight,” the prime minister said. Orbán noted that Tuesday’s EU summit declared that the party groups’ top candidates for European Commission president will not automatically become the European Council’s candidates for the post. “We have put them aside,” Orbán said.
Apart from negotiations over personnel issues, leaders of the EU need to put together a document of strategic objectives for the next five years, with “party issues to come later”, Orbán said. He added that the European People’s Party and the Socialists have “further weakened” and an alliance between them in itself would not ensure a majority. “A more complex negotiating and operative mechanism will be needed,” Orbán said, adding that Fidesz would need to find its place in this “changing constellation”. Fidesz, an EPP member, will wait and see where the group goes and if it can influence its directions and if those directions “are in line with the interests of Hungarians,” Orbán said. “If so, we will stay, if not, we will join a new formation.”
Orbán congratulated Hungary’s opposition parties on their election results but said that in the pre-election campaign he had “sensed that the people are dissatisfied with the opposition”. Those opposition forces gained more support whose governments had “destroyed” the country between 2002-2010, he insisted.
Commenting on the economy protection action plan approved at Wednesday’s government meeting, Orbán said new measures were needed because Hungary’s economy was accelerating while Europe’s was slowing down and several economic decisions made in Brussels were disadvantageous to Hungary. Hungary needs foreign investment involving state-of-the-art technology in order not to fall behind the competition, he said.
The new plan involves tax cuts and allowances, and growth incentives, to support Hungary’s small and medium-sized companies, he said, adding that a special government security was being introduced offering higher interest rates and more flexibility than before. “People can trust the Hungarian economy and the tax cuts could bring attractive results within one or two months,” he added. As a result, Hungary can fulfil its plan to keep economic growth 2 percentage points above the EU average, he said.
Commenting on Wednesday’s disaster of a sightseeing boat carrying South Korean passengers on the River Danube, he said he was shaken by the accident where “passengers had no chance of survival”. He expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and added that he had also talked to South Korean President Moon Jae-in over the phone. He said he had asked for a comprehensive, strict and thorough investigation in the case, adding that “we want to know exactly what happened and why” and the public will be informed about the results.