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Tensions between Hungary and EU rise

At a meeting with Hungarian President Pál Schmitt German Chancellor Angela Merkel called recent crisis taxes prescribed for certain sectors “unfortunate” Schmitt told reporters after the meeting.

Schmitt said that Merkel had stated that such crises taxes would affect German companies negatively and would not be beneficial in the long-run, according to MTI. At the same time he stressed that the overall tone of the meeting was “extremely friendly”.

One day prior on a national holiday commemorating the 1848 revolution against Hapsburg Austria, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delivered a speech in front of the National Museum in which he declared that Hungary would not be “dictated to” by Brussels.

Further intensifying his message, Orbán referenced historic events, stating “we did not tolerate being dictated to from Vienna in 1848 nor from Moscow in 1956 and 1990.” The comparison of regimes that occupied the country through militaries to the European Union is all the more interesting given that Hungary is currently serving as the president of the bloc.

Orbán also took jabs at Germany as well as Russia trying to highlight Hungarians’ historic distancing from totalitarian principles, such as Nazism or communism.

His harsh tone could be interpreted as a reaction to an announcement that came a day later. The European Commission declared on Tuesday that it had already opened infringement proceedings against Hungary concerning the sector taxes, more specifically those on telecoms.

The fact that the crisis taxes have an especially negative effect on German companies has already come up as a rift issue. The increasing tensions between the EU’s strongest economy and a PM who is defiant to the end in his rhetoric could likely increase political strains further.