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Region's economic power deserves greater political pull - Orbán

EU

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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán made a case for giving the countries of Central Europe, engines of economic growth, a bigger say in European Union politics in an interview published in Czech daily Lidove Noviny on Saturday.

"The people of Central Europe must also be given greater influence with relation to political decisions; the European Union can no longer be operated solely on the German-French axis," Orbán told the paper.

He noted that countries in Central Europe, including Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, and the Baltic States, have the highest rates of economic growth in Europe.

"Without this, the EU would hardly have any economic growth today, and would be a stagnating continent," he said.

"Previously, people thought Central European countries were incapable of operating their economies without the Western countries, but the situation has since been reversed; the Western countries cannot operate their own economies without Central Europe," he added.

Orbán pressed for an acknowledgment of the region's economic power when it comes to weighing Central Europe's interests.

"Hungary must remain in the European Union; the single market is in the country’s interests. But it would like Central European interests and aspects to be taken into consideration with a greater weight than they have been until now, that is in proportion to the region’s actual economic performance," he said.

"We feel that in comparison to our actual economic performance and weight, our influence on EU decisions is disproportionately small. This must be changed," he added.

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