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article imageHungary PM says does 'not want a European Union led by France'

By AFP     Jul 27, 2018 in Politics

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Friday said in an interview he did "not want a European Union led by France", adding that May 2019 elections to the European Parliament would be "decisive".

"We have never been faced with such a decisive election," Orban told the German Bild newspaper in comments published online.

"The Germans should above all be vigilant. There is a French concept, which fundamentally means: French leadership of Europe, paid for by German money," he said, without mentioning French President Emmanuel Macron by name.

"This is something I reject. We do not want a European Union under French leadership... The Europeans must be heard and we must wait for the European elections before taking some important decisions" on matters such as immigration and the budget, he added.

Orban won a third consecutive term in April on a fiercely anti-migration platform and his government has repeatedly clashed with the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, especially since the migration crisis erupted in 2015.

The EU is currently intensifying legal action against Hungary in a bid to make it comply with EU asylum rules, amid broader fears that Hungary, Poland and other eastern countries from the former Soviet-bloc are turning away from the values on which the EU is built.

Orban regularly accuses German Chancellor Angela Merkel of having encouraged the 2015 influx of migrants by declaring them welcome.

Hungary announced last week that it was withdrawing from a UN pact on migration, saying that the global deal encourages movements of people which are "dangerous for the world".

The US is also not party to the pact.

Orban also said in Montenegro earlier this week that Hungary was ready to help the small eastern European country "defend its territory" against migrants.

"Europe continues to make serious mistakes. (It) does not want to understand and acknowledge that it needs to refrain from moves that may be interpreted as an invitation in Africa or the Middle East... That is why people drown in the sea and remain jammed on migration routes," he said.

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