Politics

EU crisis: Hungary lashes out at Germany’s latest plot for United States of Europe

Viktor Orban hits out at EU over coronavirus vaccine roll out

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Katalin Novak, who is the cabinet member for families in Viktor Orban’s government, fired a strong warning on a visit to London on Monday warned that the EU has not learnt the lessons of Brexit. It comes after a leftwing coalition led by Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats was put together in Germany to replace Angela Merkel’s government with the stated foreign policy aim of pushing for a federal United States of Europe.

She said: “The recent German elections and their outcome and what we see so far and we see the coalition program which I have read through.

“We see it tackles European values based issues as well and the new German government wants to impose its mindset, its picture, its cultural ideas on the other European nations which I don’t think is fair and I don’t think is the right thing to do.

“We should oppose it. It cannot happen.

“Germans have to decide on the German way of life and Hungarians have to decide on the Hungarian way of life. That has nothing to do with our EU membership.”

Ms Novak, who began her career working on encouraging EU membership, insisted that the EU should value both the differences and similarities.

“I think Europe’s strength is also its diversity. This diversity comes from Europe and the different European nations,” she said.

“We have to respect the common policies and EU membership but we also have to respect each other’s national and cultural identity.”

She said that the EU pushing for a federal Europe showed it had not understood why Brexit happened.

“We have to understand why Brexit happened. British people have a very strong identity which is different to many other European nations. I think the fear that can be lost and they were somewhat reluctant with the European development. The Hungarian people agreed with that.”

Ms Novak, who is also a vice president of the ruling Fidesz party, was on a 24-hour visit to the UK for a series of meetings including with Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg to discuss cooperation between the two governments.

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Under Mr Orban, Hungary was one of the UK’s closest friends in the EU during the brexit negotiations and has been a champion of EU member states resisting a federal Europe.

His Government along with the Poles is currently in dispute with the EU over upholding the rule of law in their own countries as opposed to EU law.

Ms Novak suggested that the European Commission has taken on extra powers beyond its remit.

“Are the EU institutions ready to respect the rules of the EU? If they don’t respect them then anything can happen.

“The European Commission is playing a political role which is not its task. The Commissioners make political statements without base.

“It is about threatening and blackmailing which I don’t think should be about the European Commission.”

The Hungarians go to the polls next year to elect a new government with Mr Orban facing a coalition of all the opposition parties including a far right party which is openly antisemite.

Ms Novak said there is “a lot at stake” in the election in April, not least that the leading opposition coalition party, the Social Democrats backing a United States of Europe.

“That is crystal clear,” she said. “They will fight for a federal EU system.”

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