Viktor Orban labels EPP's Manfred Weber as 'Hungarophobic'

Viktor Orban labels EPP's Manfred Weber as 'Hungarophobic'

“Manfred Weber has only one goal that is really close to his heart, and that is to harm Hungary,” Orban said during a radio interview in Berlin.

Weber is the leader of the European People’s Party, which is the largest party in the parliament.

This comes after Weber's Budapest visit on June 14 where he invited Orban’s rival, Peter Magyar, to join the conservative ruling bloc.

Orban withdrew his Fidesz party from the EPP group in 2021.

Hungary’s centrist Tisza party, a concern for Orban

Hungary’s centrist Tisza party, led by Peter Magyar, won seven of Hungary's 21 seats at the EU elections in early June, beating Orban's Fidesz and Christian Democrat allies.

The win reduced Fidesz’s presence from 13 to 11. Two left-wingers and one ultra-nationalist now complete the Hungarian line-up.

Orban in his interview pushed back against more EU involvement in the war in Ukraine.

“They still want to press Hungary into the community of European countries that want war or are moving towards war. We have to stay out of that,” he said.

The nationalist leader has long opposed Western countries supplying Ukraine with military aid.

He has also maintained close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin despite his full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

On the issue of the EU's top court slapping a multimillion-euro fine on Hungary for failing to implement the laws on asylum, Orban said that his stance on the war in Ukraine might have been behind the court’s decision.

“There is a close connection between the migration fine and the issue of war and peace.”

Last week, the European Court of Justice ordered Hungary to pay a fine of 200 million euros for persistently breaking the bloc’s asylum rules despite a previous ruling, plus an additional one million euros for every day it fails to comply going forward.

Orban also spoke about his approval of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte becoming the new secretary general of NATO.