Hungary PM wants to make EU 'better', but not leave it

GMT 18:37 2015 Friday ,29 May

Arab Today, arab today Hungary PM wants to make EU 'better', but not leave it

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban
Budapest - AFP

Hungary's prime minister said on Friday he wanted to improve the European Union but not leave the bloc, as his British counterpart David Cameron courted European capitals for EU reform.

"I am ready to criticise the EU on any issue, and I am ready to debate with European bureaucrats, but I am firmly opposed to, and we should fight, anybody who would steer the country in a direction of exiting the EU or NATO," Viktor Orban said in a speech marking his five years in government.

"For us, Hungarians, this is our home. It is in our interest to make it better, but not to leave it."

During his time in office, Orban has had numerous disputes with Brussels, most recently over his suggestion to hold a debate on the reintroduction of the death penalty.

However Budapest, a major beneficiary of EU subsidies, has steered clear of threatening to abandon the bloc.

In his latest speech, Orban -- an admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin -- also insisted on Hungary's right to continue to foster "close economic ties with modern Russia".

His comments came as Cameron ended a week of whirlwind diplomacy in Warsaw and Berlin to argue for "flexible and imaginative" EU reforms, to be discussed at a summit next month.

Britain plans to hold a referendum by 2017 on whether it should leave the EU.


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