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PM Orbán’s Lámfalussy lecture

January 25th, 2017

A pro-government columnist agrees with PM Orbán that after the election of Donald Trump, Hungary will have the chance to put the national interest first. A left-wing commentator doubts that Hungary is on an equal footing with the US.

In his Monday talk at the Lámfalussy Lectures conference focusing on global economic development, Mr Orbán said that President Donald Trump’s ‘America first‘ principle empowers all countries to put their national interest first. PM Orbán characterised that as ‘a great liberty and a great gift’. He called the drive for a federal Europe a great mistake, since ‘there is no such a thing as a European people’. At the same time, he also called for setting up an EU military force able to defend the continent without the help of the US. In addition, he underlined that the EU needs to open to China and Russia in order to boost economic growth. He also praised the Hungarian National Bank’s policies which have helped put the Hungarian economy back on a growth track.

In Magyar Idők, Zsuzsa Farkas agrees with PM Orbán that a new era has begun with Donald Trump’s inauguration. The pro-government columnist thinks that it is indeed in Hungary’s interest to strengthen national sovereignty and resist Brussel’s efforts aimed at further centralization. She also welcomes the government’s suggestion that in order to further boost competitiveness, Hungary needs to broker economic deals with China and Russia.

Népszava’s György Sebes, on the other hand, cautions against drawing a parallel between the ‘elbow room’ available to the US, and that available to Hungary. The left-wing commentator doubts if Hungary will have a chance to put its national interest first. He sees an ideological similarity between the ideas represented by Donald Trump and Viktor Orbán, but asserts that the leeway Hungary has as a small country cannot in any way be likened to that of the US.

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