Hungary “only won an important battle, not a war” at the European Union summit on the bloc’s 2021-2027 budget and its pandemic recovery package in Brussels, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a regular interview to public broadcaster Kossuth Rádió. He said debates on the future of Europe involved the clash of two conflicting visions. One, he said, was “past Christianity and the era of national cultures and would admit many people of foreign cultures so that they could mix with those living here to create a unique culture”. But Hungary does not want this, Orbán said. “We like it if there’s security, order, if there’s no terrorism and we don’t want to have to be the ones to conform to those who come here,” he said. “We don’t want to go down that path.” But those who hold the opposing view “don’t want us to be the ones to decide on this because they say that Europe should be the same everywhere”, Orbán added. This debate has not been settled, he said, adding that Hungary should be prepared to continue to fight this battle “for decades to come”. This was why, Orbán said, Hungary had to be governed by a nationally-minded government and prime minister “who understands this connection and is capable of standing up for Hungary”.
The prime minister said the EU summit was a key moment in the history of Hungary and the other 26 member states because they had tried something that had never been done before. Because several member states have hit trouble, EU leaders had to deal not just with the bloc’s next seven-year budget but also put together an economic recovery package, he noted. Orbán said there were member states whose public debt-to-GDP ratio was expected to reach 150-160%. By comparison, Hungary’s debt-to-GDP ratio was 83-85% in 2010, he said, adding that this, too, had been “depressing”.
Orbán said Hungary was a part of an international division of labour that is the European single market. “But we have … a historical disadvantage that we inherited from the communist era and if we open up our borders and there are no protective tariffs in place, companies from the countries that have been more fortunate in the past will come here and put up a tough competition for Hungarian businesses,” he said. Because these companies repatriate their profits from Hungary, “the goal is to ensure we make at least as much money off of them as they make off of us”, Orbán added. He said the government’s task was to see that money flowing into Hungary, for instance in the form of EU funds, matched the repatriated profits of foreign-owned multinationals.