EU news: Fear ripples through Brussels as nation at heart of EU threatens exit | World | News

It is the first time ever that he has mentioned such a possibility. The EU was leading “a holy war, a jihad”. With these accusations, MR Orban indicated that he was considering leaving the European Union.

In a speech to supporters in Budapest on Saturday, February 12, the right-wing politician called for the EU to show “tolerance” towards Hungary.

Otherwise it would not be possible to continue on a common path.

Mr Orban spoke of this a few days before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg is to rule on the EU’s new rule of law mechanism.

The regulation stipulates that countries that violate the principles of the rule of law can have their funds from the common EU budget cut.

Hungary and Poland had appealed against the mechanism decided in December 2020.

The ECJ is scheduled to announce its judgement next Wednesday, February 16.

EU bodies and human rights organisations accuse Mr Orban, who has governed Hungary since 2010, of dismantling democracy and the rule of law.

The Hungarian leader countered this assessment on Saturday.

He said: “For them, the rule of law is a tool they want to use to mould us into something that resembles them.”

However, Hungary would not want to become like Western Europe, just as it does not expect the West to adopt Hungarian asylum or family policies.

Hungary wants to keep the EU together “despite growing cultural alienation”.

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In the past, Mr Orban had repeatedly launched harsh attacks against the “bureaucrats in Brussels”, but held back on threats to leave.

His annual State of the Union address coincided with the start of the election campaign on Saturday.

On April 3, Hungarians will elect a new parliament.

For the first time, Mr Orban is facing a united opposition whose alliance ranges from left to right. Opinion polls predict a neck-and-neck race.

Orban’s path to re-election is also complicated by surging inflation, on track to reach its highest since 2008, and a row with the European Union over democratic standards, which has triggered a freeze in pandemic recovery funding.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega and Monika Pallenberg