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ORBÁN: EU TREATING FARMERS 'UNFAIRLY'

 

It is unfair on European farmers that “Brussels has introduced regulations that make production increasingly expensive while allowing the import of produce from countries where the rules do not apply,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said. Orbán told public radio that Ukrainian agricultural products should not be allowed to enter the European market under the current conditions, “though it would be best not to allow them at all”. Orbán said the farmers were protesting because they felt their voice was not being heard. Their only means to change this “is to stand in the squares, blare their horns and fight the police,” he said.
The prime minister said there had been a strenuous debate about this issue at the EU leaders summit, and several leaders had called on the European Commission not to allow Ukrainian agricultural imports. He added that he had met farmers demonstrating in Brussels, and they asked the Poles, the Slovaks and Hungarians to block Ukrainian shipments at the border of Europe.
“It’s not without reason there’s a sense that Brussels often represents someone else’s interests rather than European interests,” Orbán said, adding that the same feeling emerged in Hungary’s parliament. “When it comes to the issue of weapons for Ukraine, for instance, [there is the sense that] the Hungarian left wing is financed from abroad,” the prime minister said. “Those who are giving them the money are all pro-war,” Orbán said, insisting that the money was donated with the purpose of involving Hungary in the war through the left wing. In Brussels, too, “you can often see that they represent the interests of the other side”, he said. “If there is too big a distance between voters and leaders, the leaders will be sent off,” he said, adding that Hungarians would soon have a chance to take part in the European parliamentary elections in June.
Reflecting on the meeting of Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, earlier this week, Orbán noted that Kuleba had called Orbán and Szijjártó “pro-Hungary, not pro-Russia”. Orbán said Hungary was a sovereign country, and as such, was “not interested in the Ukrainian opinion”. “We don’t need a kosher label from Ukraine.”
Hungary’s foreign policy will represent the interests of Hungarians equally against Ukraine, Russia and the US, he said. As regards Hungary-Ukraine relations, Orbán reiterated that Hungary supported Ukraine in terms of peace, though Transcarpathian Hungarians had been “deprived of their rights since 2015 in a way reminiscent of old communist times”. “Chances for a change after Thursday’s EU summit are better, though this has yet to be implemented,” he added.