Berlin, June 4 (MTI) – Prime Minister’s Office chief Gergely Gulyas, in an interview to German conservative daily Die Welt published on Tuesday, said he believed Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party was better off remaining a member of the European People’s Party. “The EPP, too, would be better off keeping us,” he told the paper.
Commenting on the Hungarian government’s decision to postpone the introduction of public administration courts indefinitely, Gulyas said Hungary wanted to avoid another showdown with the European Commission over the country’s justice system, pointing out that another dispute could have “negative consequences”. Asked if the government’s decision on the courts had been made in the interest of Fidesz keeping its EPP membership, Gulyas said this had not been the motivation behind the move, adding, at the same time, that the decision “might make it easier for the EPP to keep us in”.
On the topic of the Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance’s victory in last month’s European Parliament election, Gulyas said the reason why the ruling alliance had achieved such a convincing victory was because Hungary had seen convincing progress. “The people are doing better and that’s what matters most,” Gulyas said.
Asked about Fidesz’s decision to focus its campaign on the issue of migration, he said: “The two go together. Hungarians know what they stand to lose if we don’t stop migration.” The Hungarian government’s opposition to migration has been clear since 2015, Gulyas said, adding that hopefully those members of the EPP that had disagreed with Fidesz back then have since moved closer to Fidesz’s position on the issue. He noted that most members of the EPP oppose illegal migration and agree that European Union member states should be free to decide for themselves whether or not they want immigration.
Asked about Hungary’s accession to the euro zone, Gulyas noted that Hungary made a commitment to adopt the common currency when it joined the EU in 2004. The only question, he said, was when the currency would be introduced. Economists believe the right time for a member state to adopt the euro is when its gross domestic product reaches 90% of the average EU GDP, he said, adding that Hungary could achieve this within ten years.
Concerning EPP spitzenkandidat Manfred Weber, Gulyas said the CSU politician “didn’t want our support and we will grant him this wish”. He said the EPP had a slew of experienced politicians who would be willing to head the European Commission. Commenting on the composition of the next European Parliament, Gulyas said the “four big winners” of the May 26 election were the Hungarian ruling parties, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s League Party and the Austrian People’s Party (OVP).
He added that there were issues on which “we can cooperate with the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Liberals”, noting that Fidesz had voted with other EP groups in the past, as well. “But we don’t want permanent cooperation with them and we think there are a number of important groups to the right of the EPP that aren’t at all extremist,” he said.