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ORBÁN MEETS FARMERS PROTESTING IN BRUSSELS

 

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán met farmers protesting in downtown Brussels, and said European leadership must better heed the voice of the people. Earlier on Wednesday evening, Orbán had talks with Mateusz Morawiecki, the former Polish prime minister, the prime minister’s press chief said. Orbán told Belgian journalists that a “new elite” was needed in Europe because “the voice of the people in the street is not being taken seriously, be it on migration or the war in Ukraine … that is a democratic deficit.” The European Union “does not adequately respect” that agriculture is an important component of the European economy, Orbán said. Many countries introduced regulations that made their situation more difficult, he said, adding that much laxer regulations on Ukrainian agriculture had created an “unfair competition”.
“We Hungarians, Poles and Slovaks are the first to feel that burden, as we live in Ukraine’s neighbourhood. But the danger and loss will sooner or later reach the inside of the continent, and will be felt here, in Brussels, as well as in France and Spain,” he said. That trend must be stopped, Orbán said. “The European Commission must represent the interests of European farmers against Ukrainians, not the other way around,” he said. The prime minister called for stopping the import of Ukrainian produce, adding that discrepancies in the circumstances and conditions of agriculture harmed European farmers. Also, Orbán called for a “complete leadership overhaul in Brussels”. “These leaders will never make decisions in favour of the farmers.” “We need new leaders truly representing the interests of the people,” he said, referring to the European parliamentary elections in June.