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Viktor Orban says 'the Dutchman' is responsible for EU summit disarray

Economic IndicatorsJul 19, 2020 10:35AM ET
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© Reuters. EU leaders summit in Brussels

By Kate Abnett

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Sunday that Dutch leader Mark Rutte was responsible for the deadlock at a European Union summit, where leaders were set to haggle for a third day over a vast stimulus plan for their coronavirus-hit economies.

"I don't know what is the personal reason for the Dutch prime minister to hate me or Hungary, but he is attacking so harshly," he told reporters in front of the steps of a European history museum in a Brussels park, a short walk from the summit venue.

"I don't like blame games but the Dutchman is the real responsible man for the whole mess... The Dutch prime minister, he is the fighter."

Orban, a right-wing nationalist who has accumulated unprecedented powers since winning election a decade ago, has clashed with the EU's executive and other member states for years over his perceived backsliding from democratic governance.

A group of wealthy and fiscally "frugal" northern states led by the Netherlands has blocked progress at the summit towards agreement on a 750 billion euro fund to revive Europe's economies.

They want strict control over how funds are spent, and there has been a fierce argument over whether money could be withheld from countries that fail to live up to democratic standards.

Hungary, where Orban has tightened the noose around media, academics and civil society, threatened even before the summit got under way on Friday to veto the package over a proposal to freeze funds for states undercutting the rule of law.

"What's going on is a little bit strange because there is a 100% agreement on the rule of law," Orban said. "If somebody is not ready to accept the rule of law [they] should leave the European Union immediately. They should not be punished by money."

He said "these guys who inherited freedom, rule of law and political democracy" did not have the experience that he and others in eastern Europe had fighting against communism.

There was no immediate comment from Rutte's office.

Rutte told a news conference in the Hague on July 10 that developments in both Hungary and Poland were "very worrying".

"We have the principle of rule of law, and of democracy, and that Europe is not only a market and a currency, but also a community of values and you can have conditions," he said.

Viktor Orban says 'the Dutchman' is responsible for EU summit disarray
 

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Comments (5)
Mat Piekutowski
Mat Piekutowski Jul 19, 2020 6:04PM ET
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Kate Abnett, the author, must be a left wing globalist to so blatantly refer to the Hungarian President as "right wing nationalst" - what is wrong with Kate Abnett? Doesn't know terms like patriotic leader of Hungary? Why can't miserable Kate Abnett learn how to think for herself instead of using typical leftist globalist disrespectful terms to refer to patriots that seek order and prosperity for their people?
Filthy Rick
Filthy Rick Jul 19, 2020 2:16PM ET
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Orban is a common law criminal who accumulated billions of Euros of wealth stolen from EU grants through a network of strawmen including an uneducated gas fitter from his native village of 1500 inhabitants who is now said to be the richest man in Hungary.
Julie Cruise
Julie Cruise Jul 19, 2020 12:53PM ET
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the 26 country should make impossible for the Netherlands to be a tax haven. They are stealing tax revenue to others they can't preach.
Tomek Mi
Tomek Mi Jul 19, 2020 12:16PM ET
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Dont give him money. And he is gone for good.
Simon Meszaros
Simon Meszaros Jul 19, 2020 11:27AM ET
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Orban is a dictator. No one should listen to him, he always blame someone else.
Costin Untaroiu
Truth61 Jul 19, 2020 11:27AM ET
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"No one listen to him" sounds like a dictatorial comment.
Fabio falec
falec Jul 19, 2020 11:27AM ET
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A bit of grammar... "should" isn't the same as "must/shall".
Adrian White
Adrian White Jul 19, 2020 11:27AM ET
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It's only a 'dictatorial comment' if you make it an imperative, and it's spoken by somebody in power. A simple suggestion by an observer is hardly 'dictatorial'.
 
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