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Hungary’s Viktor Orban has argued that the bloc should stop being “weak” and start asserting its interests
Russia does not take the EU seriously because the bloc is not assertive enough, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has claimed. If Brussels can improve its standing, Moscow would consider negotiating with it on the Ukraine conflict, he added.
Hungary’s conservative government has long criticized the way the EU operates, accusing it of trampling on the rights of member states. Budapest has also repeatedly described the bloc’s policies toward Kiev and Moscow as misguided since the Ukraine conflict broke out almost two years ago.
During a debate with former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel, excerpts from which were published by Austria’s Die Presse newspaper on Sunday, Orban insisted that the EU is “lacking strengths.”
“We are not strong enough to be taken seriously by the Russians,” he stated, adding that the bloc should communicate clearly to Moscow that it has its own interests. The Hungarian prime minister argued that meaningful understanding between the EU and Russia can only be achieved on the basis of mutual recognition of interests.
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He warned, however, that unless Brussels changes tack, Russia and the US may end up agreeing on a new security architecture on the continent, over the heads of Europeans.
Orban also criticized the “growing tendency toward centralization that undermines the sovereignty of [EU] member states,” while claiming that the European Parliament in its current form “doesn’t work” and “is a madhouse.” He suggested reverting to an earlier arrangement, whereby member states’ national parliaments sent representatives to the body, as opposed to conducting direct elections.
Orban also suggested that the European Commission should remember it represents the will of member states, rather than being a “political” entity.
Touching on broader global developments, the Hungarian leader asserted that the “West’s dominant position is over,” arguing that the “gravitational center of global economy… is shifting from the West back to Asia.”
A chief adviser to Viktor Orban, Balazs Orban (no relation), last week claimed that “Europe has been basically brought to its knees due to the attitude of the US towards the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.”