Brussels is trying to put pressure on central Europe but it should “seriously rethink its attitude” to the region, the prime minister’s chief of staff said in an interview published by Polish conservative weekly Sieci.
Poland and Hungary have borne the brunt of “attacks” by EU institutions, Gergely Gulyás said. But more recently Slovenia and Austria have also become targets because “Brussels bureaucrats can’t tolerate someone being different from them”. “In that sense Brussels is the capital of illiberalism,” he added. “Brussels is interfering with Hungary’s domestic affairs at an unprecedented level”. “The EU fails to recognise that this part of Europe is different from the West … and they prefer risking the EU’s stability to adopting a flexible stance,” he added. He accused Brussels of being “unable to tolerate even the slightest difference in opinion” and making the law “subservient to politics, which is well known to us from the time of the Soviet Union”.
Commenting on EU transfers to central European member countries, he said they were not a donation, considering that Germany, for instance, gained from euro-zone and EU markets considerably more than the EU support it pays. “We opened our markets at an early stage despite being very weakly capitalised, and the West abused that situation,” he added, citing former commissioner Günther Öttinger who said that for every euro transferred to the East, 70 cents returned to the West. There is no reason for them “to handle the funds as a moral gesture”; and in terms of historical categories “we do not owe them anything; quite the opposite”.
Commenting on Hungarian legislation on the protection of children, he said he concurred with the view that it had provoked even fiercer anger from Brussels than the issue of migration because it involved a taboo subject. “Very many groups and minorities are getting protection in Europe, with one exception: the nations that have lived here for centuries.” Brussels, he said, was hugely influenced by NGOs that “focus solely on and live from” LGBTQ issues and that try to make a popular trend out of something that belongs to people’s private life. “We believe, however, that the protection of children is a task of the state.” Adults, on the other hand, are free to live as they wish, he said. In response to a question concerning whether the child protection law should be watered down following Western criticism, he said: “The greatest mistake we could commit in politics is yielding to pressure when we are certain that we are right.” Instead of reversing on the issue, we should press ahead, which is why a referendum will be held in Hungary on the subject, he added.
Commenting on the continuation of Hungary’s family support policies, he said that consistency, stability and predictability were most important. “In this respect, it is vital that ruling Fidesz should remain in government,” he said.