Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban sharply criticized EU officials in general and Brussels in particular saying that “EU Officials are wasting time on toys for pigs and the mood of geese” while hundreds of thousands of EU citizens lose their jobs and the EURO is collapsing. Hungary is an EU but not Euro Zone member and has asked a financial aid of some 15 billion euro from the IMF and the EU.
Brussels hinders nations tackling crisis: Hungary PM
BUDAPEST (Reuters) – EU officials are wasting time on toys for pigs and the mood of geese when hundreds of thousands are losing their jobs and the single currency is collapsing, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Saturday in a scathing attack on EU institutions.
Orban, who has often been at loggerheads with Brussels over issues like the independence of the National Bank of Hungary and the judiciary, said the 27-member bloc’s institutions were hindering crisis-hit nations’ ability to solve their problems.
Speaking in the Romanian town of Baile Tusnad at an annual students’ gathering, Orban said western Europe, where the 17-member euro zone is mired in a debt crisis, was trapped in a vicious circle by the lack of accountability and failing institutions.
“Brussels spends precious days and weeks setting the size of hen cages. They prescribe that pigs should be given toys to play with, and the mood of geese is an important European issue,” Orban said in a nearly hour-long speech carried by Hungarian private broadcaster HirTV.
“Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands are losing their jobs, our currency is collapsing and every day we find it harder and harder to make ends meet,” he said, calling for an overhaul of the European institutional framework.
Hungary, central Europe’s most indebted nation, is not a member of the euro zone. Orban, a conservative, heads a coalition that is seeking an international loan to cut the country’s high borrowing costs.
Orban has worried investors and the European Union with a two-year string of unorthodox policies, most recently a levy on central bank operations, which the European Central Bank has criticized for impairing the National Bank of Hungary’s independence.
“They are concerned about the independence of central banks, when it is absolutely evident that the ECB is under the growing sway of political, national political decisions.”
He did not elaborate. (further reading Reuters via Chicago Tribune)
Last November, Hungary asked for financial help from the IMF and the EU, in an effort to keep government borrowing costs under control and support a fragile currency, but disputes between Budapest and the EU and the IMF over the independence of the National Bank of Hungary blocked the start of formal talks for months.
Real Toys for Real Pigs
The country—saddled with the highest level of public debt in Central Europe and facing an economic contraction—is seeking a precautionary aid package expected to total about €15 billion ($18 billion).
PS It is very possible that PM Orban misunderstood the whole “toys for pigs” EU policy. Correct it would be “PIIGS without Toys”….
Well said Viktor, but not the way to make friends and influence them. But then, the Greek, Irish, Portuguese, Spanish experience really does pose the question: “With friends like this, who needs enemies?”