Hungary Prime Minister Hits Out at EU Interference in National Day Speech
Hungaryâs strongman prime minister, Viktor OrbĂĄn, delivered a stinging broadside against Brussels on Thursday, likening EU bureaucracy to Soviet tyranny and casting himself in the mould of Hungarian heroes fighting to free the country from foreign domination since the 19th century.
Locked in dispute with Brussels for more than a year over media freedoms, economic policy, the central bank, and the judiciary, OrbĂĄn put himself on a collision course with the EU just as his government is attempting to secure credits of âŹ20bn (ÂŁ17bn) to keep Hungary afloat.
Addressing tens of thousands of supporters on Hungaryâs national day, commemorating the 1848-49 uprising against Habsburg rule, the prime minister rounded on eurocrats whom he accused of illegitimate interference in the country.
âWe do not need the unsolicited assistance of foreigners wanting to guide our hands,â OrbĂĄn declared in a reference to Brusselsâ demands for legal and constitutional changes regulating Hungaryâs central bank, data protection laws, and the retirement age for judges on the supreme court.
Drawing a clear parallel between Soviet domination of Hungary until 1989 and the behaviour of the European authorities, OrbĂĄn said: âWe are more than familiar with the character of unsolicited comradely assistance, even if it comes wearing a finely tailored suit and not a uniform with shoulder patches.â
OrbĂĄn enjoys the strongest democratic mandate in the EU, after a landslide election victory in 2010 that gave his Fidesz party a two-thirds majority in parliament. He has used the mandate to draft and rush through a new Hungarian constitution, crack down on media pluralism, and has been accused of authoritarianism and breaking the laws of the EU, which Hungary joined in 2004.