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Hungary aims to change EU from within, says Lázár

Hungary does not want to exit the European Union but to restructure and change its institutional system in order to make all the countries within it successful, Cabinet Chief János Lázár said today at a summit of the Hungarian Business Leaders Forum (HBLF), according to reports.

Lázár at the forum today. (Photo: MTI / Balázs Mohai)

During his speech at the forum focusing on the global challenges of Europe and America, Lázár chiefly talked about how Hungary, together with the other three Visegrád Four countries - Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic - would like to transform the EU by following Central European and national interests, according to Hungarian online news portal

He described Brexit, the U.K.ʼs exit from the European Union, as a “historic mistake,” according to the Hungarian daily, while adding that he believes it could contribute to fundamental changes in the integration. He observed that while European socialists believe that the EU can only be competitive if integration is further deepened, the Hungarian government believes this is exactly contrary to the interest of “our home.”

Lázár stressed that the Hungarian stance has been consistent since 2010, that there is no need for handing over competences to the EU. He noted that issues such as taxation and social systems need to be kept as competences of the individual member nations.

Lázár said he believes European conservatives have become “numb” as a result of Brexit, while socialists want “socialism” following the exit of the U.K. from the bloc. He remarked that attempts have been made to push Hungary to the edges of the European Union, according to the report. He also claimed that European socialists would “make members kneel down” who think about representing their national interests and sovereignty.

Lázár’s comments on Hungary’s commitment not to exit the EU are not unexpected, despite the Hungarian governmentʼs recent launch of an anti-EU “national consultation,” in which eligible voting citizens are being sent heavily loaded questions in a letter that strongly criticizes Brussels. The so-called consultation is being accompanied by a high-profile “Let’s stop Brussels!” advertising and poster campaign, which has drawn negative attention from officials in the bloc.