“Certain Western European countries are attempting to break Central Europe’s competitive advantage using socialist-style economic policy”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI on Wednesday at the Krynica International Economic Forum in Poland.

Mr. Szijjártó said voices from Western Europe demanding the harmonisation of taxes and the communitisation of debt were “socialist-style economic proposals”. “If these proposals were to come into force, it would ruin the Central European region’s and the whole European Union’s competitiveness”, he said, adding that the introduction of tax harmonisation would lead to tax increases in Hungary. “We will fight in Europe against tax harmonisation until our last breath”, the Minister declared. With relation to the communitisation of debt, he explained: This would mean nothing less than that other EU countries having to take over the debt of “certain countries that are practicing irresponsible economic policies”. He pointed out that in Hungary, government debt has been falling continuously in recent years. He explained that thanks to earlier structural reforms and “courageous reform measures”, Hungary has the lowest rates of tax on the continent and the most attractive investment environment. “Central Europe has become the economic engine of the whole continent, and for precisely this reason certain Western European countries would like to reduce Central Europe’s competitive advantage by trying to push socialist-style bureaucratic measures through in the European Union”, he declared. “However, the way to make the EU competitive again is to allow internal competition”, the Minister said, adding that economic competition within the European Union is clearly in the interests of Hungary and Central Europe.

Mr. Szijjártó also mentioned competition within the EU during the plenary session of the Krynica Forum on Wednesday, as one of the seven points that must be realised to enable Europe to be strong in the global competition. As the second prerequisite for competitiveness, the Minister cited the need to guarantee the security of European citizens, calling Brussels’s migration policy dangerous, and underlining the need for border protection. “We want to see leaders at the head of the EU who are ready to handle Christian heritage as a priority, because Europe is based on Christian values”, he emphasised. With relation to the fourth prerequisite, he said: “With relation to the post-2022 multiannual financial framework, an honest debate must be held on EU funding”, underlining that “the countries of Central Europe also have a right to this funding in view of the fact that after joining the EU they allowed Western enterprises into their countries in accordance with their undertakings, from which those enterprises have profited considerably”. “Seventy percent of European Union monies aimed at the region find their way back to Western European countries”, he stressed. According to the fifth point listed by the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, a strong Europe can only be based on strong member states and strong nations. “We will never agree to becoming a United States of Europe and will not bow to pressure aimed at having us surrender our self-identity”, he declared. Concerning the sixth point, the Minister spoke about EU enlargement. “We firmly believe that the more we are, the stronger we are”, he declared. Mr. Szijjártó said the British decision to exit the EU was regrettable, and called for the acceleration of the integration of the Western Balkan countries. As the final prerequisite, Mr. Szijjártó mentioned doing away with “false” double standards, voicing his objections to the application of these with relation to Hungary and Poland.

On Wednesday, the Minister will also be speaking at the Forum’s podium discussion on the transport corridors to be established on the territories of the countries of the Three Seas Initiative. The Krynica International Economic Forum, which is also known as the “Central European little Davos”, is being held for the 29th time this year. Over four thousand politicians, economists and experts are taking part in the conference, which began on Tuesday and will end on Friday. The Man of the Year Award, which was awarded to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in 2016, will be presented at the Forum’s gala evening on Wednesday. According to press reports, this year’s award is expected to be presented to Polish head of government Mateusz Morawiecki. In addition to the Man of the Year Award, the New Europe’s New Culture Award, named after Polish writer Stanislaw Vincenz, is also presented at each year’s event, and according to information acquired by Hungarian news agency MTI will this year be awarded to Hungarian literary historian Csaba Gy. Kiss.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)