PM Orbán: Manfred Weber has insulted the Hungarian people

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German politician Manfred Weber, leader of the European People’s Party’s faction in the European Parliament, has insulted the Hungarian people who no longer believe him, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview with German Sunday paper Welt am Sonntag.
In the interview, Orbán said he agreed with Weber at a meeting in Budapest two years ago to support his election as president of the European Commission, but two days later the German politician publicly said he did not want to win with Hungarian votes.
“Everyone here asked what kind of person is that? Do you think we are second-class Europeans? This case was not about me, but about insulting the Hungarian people. We have lost confidence in him,” Orbán said.
The Hungarian prime minister added that he found the allegations made about the media situation in Hungary in the ranks of the EPP ridiculous. He stressed that “objective studies show that government-critical media has a market share of over 50 percent”. Hungary features a diversity of political opinions in its media market , including Christian and conservative voices which have been minimized or even actively censored in Western European countries.
Orbán said that the problem lies more with the EPP, as Weber wants the same coalition in Brussels as in Berlin, where the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) rule with the left-wing Social Democrats (SPD). Although the CDU was once viewed as a conservative party in the past, policies on immigration, social values and abortion mean that the party has made a strong leftward turn in the last decade, especially under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel. AP Images Under the leadership of Angela Merkel, Germany’s Christian Democrats have increasingly embraced left-wing politics. Orbán said that the alliance between the right and left in Germany is being replicated at the European level, with the traditional meaning of conservative disappearing in Brussels. According to Orbán, it means that “soon it will not be possible to distinguish between conservatives and socialists”.
“It is not us who are leaving the EPP, rather they are leaving us,” Orbán said, stressing that the EPP party family should retain its “Christian-conservative character”.
With regard to Brexit, Orbán said that with the departure of the British, the EU tipped out of balance, becoming “more and more ideological”, increasingly representing a trend towards higher taxes, more state powers and less competitiveness. Through the decisive influence of Germany and France, their economic policies are “increasingly socialist”, in which redistribution is more important than performance and modernization.
He also said that while Europe is losing its edge in the global competition, “Brussels’ response is not to strengthen performance and competitiveness, but increasingly protectionism”.
“We protect ourselves because we are becoming weaker. That is not a good direction,” Orbán said.
About the loan-financed EU recovery fund, he said that Hungary has always been critical of the idea, but “since many southern states would collapse without aid, we agreed out of solidarity”.
The so-called “Frugal Four” group of countries formed by Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden are also opposed to joint borrowing, but also criticize what they claim to be a lack of “rule of law” and alleged corruption in Hungary.
In response, Orbán emphasized “the fact that we agree with certain countries in some respects does not mean that their company would be attractive to us”. He also pointing out that despite criticism too the contrary, “corruption is no more widespread in Hungary than in Austria, France or Germany”.
Title image: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and current EPP faction leader Manfred Weber in Budapest on March 12, 2019. (MTI/Balázs Szecsődi)

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