If we are on the topic of political correctness – what is your opinion on it?
I remember about 15 years ago I was on an official government visit to Iceland. In the evening the Icelandic president stated he was not usually politically correct, but rather correct, politically. I think the only mode of the ideological and philosophical battle is speaking correctly and not fearing the enemies we may make along the way. I really enjoyed Prime Minister Orbán’s speech this morning. He stated that if you are making enemies, you are doing something right. I met with him an hour ago in his office and I mentioned this statement to point out that it is true, because he has enemies.
What did you discuss with Viktor Orbán?
We debated the European situation and the state of our countries as well as those topics that were mentioned at the conference: protection of children, gender issues, economic questions. I am an economist and I recently wrote a book on inflation in the Czech Republic. The Hungarian PM asked me to immediately send him a copy of my book that he is going to have translated.
What do you think of V4 cooperation which has seemingly weakened as of late?
I think I am history from this perspective. We started the Visegrad cooperation. At the beginning there were only three of us because we joined as Czechoslovakia at first. It has proved to be an important idea to boosted European free trade and prevent European protectionism. This was a fantastic moment. Later on, there were hardships because of certain countries’ political developments, but a significant turning point came in 2015 with the European migration crisis. At this point, the Visegrad countries came together and our cooperation was at the forefront. Now I am afraid that the Visegrad group is almost gone. This started with the Slovakian elections, then the Czech – and the results are not too encouraging for Visegrad cooperation. I fear that conflicts of interest have arisen.
In terms of defending Christianity and Christian values, what can we learn from each other?
I think we should communicate with each other. I have many friends in the Czech Republic who have visited Germany, Austria, USA and Poland many times. What is happening there is incomprehensible to me, so I decided to visit Budapest. I think this is a much more important event to visit than Paris or Brussels, especially since I never go to Brussels.
What do you think of Hungary’s policy on child protection and gender affairs which are debated topics these days?
These are very sensible, essential, and unavoidable politics. To my regret, my country along with most European countries that do not accept the Western European approach to gender and families, do not have the kind of protections that Hungary has implemented
Brussels likes to have a say in affairs that they have nothing to do with – take for example the Hungarian constitutional amendments. What do you think of these attempts to intervene?
You know, my feelings against the European Union are well-known. Everything that Brussels does is bad – why would this not be true? If we are already on this point: a half hour ago as I was sitting here, I got an SMS from a Czech press agency. It stated that the European Commission decided to punish the Czech Republic. The reason being that they did not fully implement the 2018 directive on audio-visual broadcasting. Brussels announced that they will bring the case to the European Court of Justice. This is entirely unacceptable to me.
If you were in a decision-making role now, would you advise the Czech Republic and Hungary to leave the EU? Or suggest some other form of cooperation?
I do not think that I would provide any kind of advice. I believe that politicians should not decide on leaving the EU because they need the majority support from the electorate on this matter. This will not happen in the foreseeable future, so at the moment this is not relevant.
What are your plans for the rest of your stay in Budapest?
I am primarily here to take part in this important conference. But aside from this I want to have a look around Budapest and the country. To see how things are going since the pandemic-related closures.