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The European Commission should be focused on tackling the new coronavirus outbreak rather than Hungary’s response to it, Katalin Novák, the state secretary in charge of family and youth affairs, said in an interview to French conservative weekly Valeurs actuelles. “Our enemy is the coronavirus, not the European Union or the European People’s Party (EPP), or even the Hungarian opposition,” Novák, who is also deputy leader of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party, said. The Hungarian government’s top priority is combatting the epidemic and protecting public health, she said, adding that the EU should prioritise member states’ common interests.
Commenting on criticisms of the government’s law governing the response to the epidemic, Novák said the legislation was in line with Hungary’s constitution and had been approved “in the traditional parliamentary manner, with a two-thirds majority”. Lawmakers can repeal the law at any time, she said. Addressing a remark by EC President Ursula von der Leyen that she was prepared to take action over the law if necessary, Novák said the comment “was probably meant mostly for the media”. She said Hungary and the EU’s views on sovereignty and the principle of subsidiarity were “not incompatible, just different in many respects”. The situation is similar with the EPP, where Fidesz’s views are at odds with those of several member parties, “but this is not an insurmountable obstacle”, Novák said.