Hungarian Conservative

Balázs Hidvéghi: We are Fed Up with the Centralizing European Institutions

PHOTO: Tamás Gyurkovits/Hungarian Conservative
‘I am convinced that the current leadership in Brussels does not take into account the opinion or expectations of the majority of European people, and we even see that they represent non-European interests in Brussels on key issues, such as illegal migration, the war in Ukraine or the EU’s competitiveness,’ Hungarian Member of the European Parliament Balázs Hidvéghi stated in an interview with Hungarian Conservative.

Balázs Hidvéghi has been a Fidesz MEP since 2 July 2019. Previously, he had served as an MEP in 2014 and as a Hungarian Member of Parliament between 2013 and 2014. We spoke with him about the upcoming European elections, how they may change Brussels, and how sovereigntist forces may become stronger in Europe.


The European Parliament elections are just days away. What is at stake?

From the Hungarian point of view, it is clear what is at stake: war or peace. Europe has entered into a spiral of war in recent years that is becoming more and more dangerous. Today, we live in a Europe where French President Emmanuel Macron wants to open a debate on the use of nuclear weapons, the new Polish leadership wants to install nuclear weapons in Poland, where politicians are talking about sending troops to Ukraine, where NATO is preparing for a mission in Ukraine. This is an extremely dangerous road. We have been saying for years that no matter how difficult this military conflict is, a solution must be found, and for this, a cease-fire is the necessary first step.

We in Hungary advocate for this, and we are convinced that peace in Europe is at stake.

I am confident that we can return Europe to a more sane path so that Europe can act for its own interests. An important part of this is solving the problem of the war as soon as possible. Furthermore, I’m also thinking about the EU’s operational structure that has developed in a way in recent years that is significantly weakening Europe. The EU’s institutional functioning is becoming over-centralized and ideology-driven. EU institutions continuously take powers away from the Member States, without this having a basis in the Treaties. In the same time, they have adopted an approach that is exclusionary, impatient, and intolerant of the diversity of opinions. An approach that wants to impose a single, radical, left-wing worldview on everyone, and make it mandatory. A political direction that does not tolerate dissent, wants to ban conservative Christian Democratic events, for example, and incites tension between the Member States.

Do you think that an ideological turn favorable to Fidesz could take place in Brussels?

I trust that it will. I am convinced that the ideology currently forced by the Brussels elite is alien to most Europeans. For example, the LGBTIQ+  ideology is not about protecting sexual minorities, but rather it is about imposing a completely new, ideological concept of gender. This new, absurd approach wants to brainwash our children and tells them that being a boy or a girl is something that they can freely choose and change. This is completely absurd and unacceptable. One cannot deny biological reality. Moreover, they want to impose this divisive idea on everyone without allowing a debate by claiming that these are ‘European values’. Which they aren’t. When Hungary or any other Member State entered the EU, this is not what we agreed to. It is a constitutional, national competence to define, for example, marriage. It is also the right of Member States, including the Hungarians, to decide on the way they want their children to be raised.

This cannot be imposed on Member States by institutions in Brussels, especially not the European Commission, which should be a neutral, impartial actor.

Jean Claude Juncker started this ill-conceived, flawed approach when he said that he wanted to lead a ‘political Commission’. This was continued by Ursula von der Leyen in 2019, who declared the idea of a ‘geopolitical Commission’. This doesn’t bring back good memories. We remember the Political Committee of the Communist Party that made decisions, controlled everything, and punished those who were not standing in line. This is not the Union we joined. I am convinced that the current leadership in Brussels does not act according to the will of the European people, nor do they represent European interests on the global level when it comes to key issues. 

PHOTO: Tamás Gyurkovits/Hungarian Conservative

Can farmer demonstrations be seen as a sign of this dissatisfaction?

Exactly. We see that there is enormous discontent among farmers across Europe, which is taking shape in increasingly large demonstrations. Farmers are feeling the consequences of the misguided decisions of Brussels. They feel that the EU’s leadership pushes the green agenda without any care for the impact this has on their livelihood. Simply put, they feel betrayed by the current Brussels leadership. 

One of the main concerns for everyone is which political family Fidesz will join after the elections. Has this been decided yet?

It is important to note that belonging to a European party family is a means and not an end in itself. This is an important tool to make our voice louder on the European political scene. We have established good cooperation with the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) faction and with the Identity and Democracy (ID) faction in this mandate. We have a good relationship with the Polish Law and Justice (PiS) party and the Spanish VOX party, besides Fratelli d’Italia, who are in the ECR, and the same is true about the French National Rally and Matteo Salvini’s Lega party, for example, who sit in the ID faction. There are also very respectable politicians even in the European People’s Party group. I am thinking of the French Republicans or the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), for example.

We want the right-wing, sovereigntist forces to be stronger and more efficient on the European stage.

The exact way this will be done, be it a formation of an alliance between political groups or, perhaps, a joint political group, will be decided after the elections. The overriding interest is to establish an efficient cooperation on the right, which is able to steer EU decision-making in a different direction, to put an end to the left-wing dominance that we have suffered in recent years.

How is it that such a collaboration has not yet been established?

The reason why such a stronger or more united right-wing group was not created earlier did not depend on Fidesz. It was rather due to differences between other parties. I think it would be worthwhile to overcome these differences of opinion.

It is in our greater interest to join forces and act more effectively on matters that are important to us, such as defending national sovereignty and Christian, conservative values or fighting against illegal migration.

This is a goal that is more important than dissents in some individual cases. We must accept that Europe is diverse, and that there are diverging national interests and viewpoints. A political group in the European Parliament is made up of different parties from many nations. Obviously, there will always be separate, national positions. We should approach this issue realistically and be more pragmatic. 

You mentioned the European People’s Party. What do you think of Manfred Weber, the president and faction leader of the centre-right party family, talking about a European army in connection with the war in Ukraine?

Manfred Weber’s rhetoric fits well with the war atmosphere I mentioned earlier. He is a politician who always adapts to the dominant trend. By the way, he has done the lion’s share of deviating the European People’s Party from its original path. Under his leadership, the EPP abandoned a lot of its traditional values and voters, and turned to the left. In recent years, he has sought alliances almost exclusively with the socialists, liberals, or even the Greens. The EPP gave far too many concessions to the left without getting anything in return. They should face the fact that nothing is ever enough for the left, they will always demand more. If you take the whole rule of law hysteria, the appropriation of this otherwise very important concept and its degradation into a political weapon, you see that this also came from the left. The European People’s Party fell into this trap, and became an ally in creating a weapon that is turned against right wing, conservative forces. Weber had a key role in this.

What are Fidesz’s expectations regarding the European Commission and other key EU positions? What qualities would an ideal leader possess?

It is important to clarify that Fidesz’s criticism of Brussels’ politics and politicians does not mean that we are anti-European. We love Europe, we are proud members of the European Union, but we are worried that currently the EU is on the wrong path.

We need an EU leadership that accepts the diversity of the Union.

The fact that there are twenty-seven Member States also mean that there are twenty-seven different worlds, with different viewpoints, historical experiences, constitutional orders. We would like to see leaders in top EU positions who accept this, and act accordingly. We need leaders who strive for unity, who put less emphasis on ideology and unrealistic ideas, and put more effort into finding common ground between Member States. 

In just over a month, Hungary will take over the presidency of the Council of the EU. What will be the most important objectives of the Hungarian presidency?

Let me begin by saying that the desperate attempts coming from the left to cancel the Hungarian Presidency have obviously failed. The presidency will begin on the 1st of July. This will be the second presidency assumed by Hungary, after the first one in 2011, which was widely recognized as a great success, both politically and professionally. It won’t be any different this time. Hungary is ready to hold another successful presidency. The priorities will include a wide-range of issues, such as the fight against illegal migration, the EU’s competitiveness in the shadow of the war, and in the context of the green transition, as well as European security and defence. The Hungarian Presidency will also put great emphasis on the EU’s enlargement, the future of cohesion policy and demography. We will also strive for an objective and fact-based approach to the rule of law. Let’s see if the European Commission fully operates in accordance with the requirements of the rule of law, for instance. Overall, Hungary is ready to make progress on a number of issues that are crucial for Europe, based on a sober and professional approach.

Read more on the EP elections:

European Parliament Elections 2024 — Predictions and Guesses
‘I am convinced that the current leadership in Brussels does not take into account the opinion or expectations of the majority of European people, and we even see that they represent non-European interests in Brussels on key issues, such as illegal migration, the war in Ukraine or the EU’s competitiveness,’ Hungarian Member of the European Parliament Balázs Hidvéghi stated in an interview with Hungarian Conservative.