Orbán: Hungarian economy is strong without EU funds

December 23, 2017

Orbán: Hungarian economy is strong without EU funds
Photo: MTI/Zoltán Máthé

“The Hungarian economy can be operated without EU funds, the economy’s engine is not the EU’s money but the Hungarian workingmen,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in his weekly interview on national Kossuth Rádió’s 180 perc program, index.hu reports.

European people will get their own way

In his weekly radio interview, the Prime Minister stated that at the latest European Union summit in Brussels he succeeded in preventing the birth of a system that would distribute migrants entering the EU among the Member States. However, according to Orbán, he failed to win over leaders opposed to the Hungarian standpoint so far. Orbán said that at the next European Council summit due in March 2018, he will try again, saying that “we are ahead of a new attack.”

Orbán argued that as there will be national elections in many Member States next year, he will be able to convince European heads of state that the Hungarian standpoint is the right one. He said support for those European politicians who want a “mixed-population Europe” is constantly weakening in elections. “In the end, the European people, despite hardships, will eventually get their own way.”

The Prime Minister voiced his hope that Austria’s new conservative-far-right coalition government will attempt to join the Visegrád Four political alliance of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Regarding the European Commission’s recent decision to open an Article Seven procedure against Poland that in an extreme case might lead to suspending Poland’s voting right in the EU, Orbán said Poland is under unworthy attacks from “Brussels.” Those who attacked Poland were attacking all of Central Europe.  For this reason,  it was not only Hungary’s duty but also its vital interest to defend Poland.

Strong and flexible Hungarian economy

When asked about the possibility of the EU withholding funds because of its concerns about the state of the rule of law in Hungary, Orbán said he is not at all afraid of this scenario since EU laws do not allow such conduct. The Prime Minister asserted that EU funds are neither a panacea nor a present, pointing out that Western European companies make a good profit in Hungary, so Hungarians should not position themselves in a subservient role in EU relations.

Orbán then boasted that Hungary is standing on its own feet:

“The Hungarian economy can be operated without EU funds, the economy’s engine is not the EU’s money but the Hungarian workingmen.”

Orbán contended that Hungary’s economic policy is flexible, and even if Hungary were not to receive EU funds “there would be growth, even then we would be successful.”

It is worth noting that according to a report compiled by international auditor KPMG and GKI Economic Research Co. at the government’s request, during the 2007-2013 EU budgetary period the Hungarian economy was kept alive by EU funds. The report maintains that even though some HUF 14 trillion (USD 53.2 billion) of EU funds poured into the country during this period, the competitiveness of the economy decreased and labor emigrated.