On Friday at a press conference held after the summit of prime ministers in Warsaw, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán described the past one year of the countries of the Visegrád Cooperation (V4) as good. On 1 July, Poland took over the presidency of the V4 from the Czech Republic which held it for a year.
The V4 had a good year; by European comparison, all four countries managed the epidemic well, and won the first battle, Mr Orbán said.
The Prime Minister highlighted that the second battle is about preserving jobs and kick-starting economic growth.
All four countries are keeping their sovereign debts under control, and it is not because of them that the need has now emerged for an extraordinary European financial plan, he added.
He said Hungary instinctively rejects the idea of joint borrowing; however, there are countries which need help now, and therefore they accept the European plan to take out a loan together.
Mr Orbán underlined at the same time that they are far from an agreement. At this time, we need a smart financial alliance among Member States, and the proposal currently on the table is far from this, he said.
He took the view that Poland will play a key role in the negotiations as they have just taken over the V4 presidency, and so there is more responsibility on the Polish prime minister’s shoulders than if he only negotiated on behalf of his own country.
The Prime Minister said they have faith in the successful outcome of the negotiations, and sincerely hope that leaders all over the world will come to occupy important positions whose mentality focuses on the economy and who are able to put their own economies in order after the epidemic.
He said he is rooting for US President Donald Trump because, in his view, he is the only candidate who is able to put the US economy in order after the pandemic.
He observed that in Hungary the 2021 budget had been adopted, and that this budget had been drafted without extra EU funds.
Regarding talks in the EU, he also mentioned that content and quality were more important than time.
It is rare that finance ministers with extensive experience lead the V4; however, this was so in the past one year during the Czech presidency, and this will also be the case during the period ahead. Therefore, they have high hopes for the Polish presidency, Mr Orbán pointed out.
He said he asked the Polish Prime Minister to ensure that the V4 also address the issue of migration. In Hungary they can see what is happening, that migration is intensifying by the day, that ever more people smugglers are being apprehended, that the number of illegal entry attempts is on the rise, and that on the migration route the number of infections is increasing, he listed.
He stressed that the first task will be to conquer the epidemic and to restart the economy, to be followed by the management of the migration situation; in this, Poland now taking over the V4 presidency can count on Hungary’s full support.
In answer to a question, Mr Orbán said they are making good progress as regards the EU financial plan; the Czech Prime Minister is handing over a united V4 to his Polish counterpart who – it is to be hoped – will be able to preserve this unity.
He took the view that the European financial plan is different from plans in the past.
In the case of the seven-year budget, each Member State makes a contribution; countries which are bigger and richer pay more, while other countries pay less, he highlighted.
The Prime Minister said what is happening now is, however, entirely different. No one will make any contribution, and so no one takes precedence. They will raise this money together, meaning that the EU will take out a loan. This means that there are no contributors who could have a greater say, and no one can claim that their voice should be louder because they pay more.
According to the Prime Minister, we need a smart financial plan which is beneficial for everyone, and where no one has any privileges in defining the content of the plan. This debate is different in its nature from the usual debates about the budget.
In this debate, the Polish Prime Minister will have to lead the V4 to victory, and it is to be hoped that he will be able to do so, Mr Orbán said.
(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)