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Political

“The clearly articulated will of the people will reach Brussels”

| May 11, 2017

Fidesz is a reform opposition, says MEP András Gyürk, Head of the Hungarian EPP Group delegation. Fidesz is pro-Europe but will not let true debates be overshadowed.

What is your opinion on the document published by the European Commission challenging the national consultation?

I am happy that the European Commission “takes part” in the national consultation because real debate tends to be overshadowed in EU decision-making. They do not address the really important questions. Also, I think it is right that the Hungarian government offers a rejoinder. This dialogue facilitates the common European cause.

According to Viktor Orbán, the government wants Brussels to change its stance on issues that are disadvantageous for Hungarians. Does the national consultation give the government greater legitimacy to take up this fight?

In recent years, I have experienced that the will of the people, when clearly articulated, does reach Brussels. Initially, the bureaucrats tend to disregard the people’s opinions. However, a referendum or even a national consultation with high turnout is indeed able to make the EU institutions reconsider their positions.

“Stop Brussels!” Is this really an anti-European message?

We are a reform opposition in Brussels because we are committed Europeans but we believe that things cannot go on like this. For this objective, the national consultation is one of the tools. Our country overwhelmingly supports EU membership when compared to the EU average. I believe that open dialogue on Europe’s future contributes to this high level of support, that we do not silence debates like other Member States do. It is a false choice to say that it’s a decision to either stay and accept everything as it is or exit. If, for example, Brussels wants to prohibit Member States from limiting the right of multinational energy companies to set prices or wants us to eliminate the border fence, then we say, “stop here and no further.” We don’t want Brussels to exceed the limits of its authority at the expense of national competences. But this stop sign we show is not anti-Europeanism.

This interview is adapted from the Hungarian-language original, which was first published in Magyar Hírlap and is available here.