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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  March 1, 2019 12:30am-1:01am GMT

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i'm sharanjit leyl in hanoi, where the trump—kim summit ends with no deal, no of the summit between president trump and kim jong—un in hanoi. agreement, no warm words. mrtrump said the north koreans had made unacceptable demands, president trump points the finger, that all sanctions be lifted in exchange for limited saying north korea wanted all sanctions lifted, denuclearization. but north korea's foreign minister says they only asked for something he could not accept. a partial lifting. india has welcomed pakistan's you always have to be announcement that it will release a captured indian fighter pilot. prepared to walk. tens of thousands of troops remain positioned along the border i could have signed an agreement of the disputed kashmir region. today, and then you people would have said, "oh, what a terrible deal, and this story is what a terrible thing he did." trending on no, you have to be prepared to walk. the world renowned conductor, pianist and composer, but that has been flatly andre previn has died aged 89. contradicted by north korea. it says it was only asking born in berlin, he began his career in hollywood, for partial sanction relief. performing and arranging music while still at school. translation: if the united states he went on to win four oscars. removes partial sanctions, stay with bbc world news. time now for hardtalk, on locaton in budapest.
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welcome to hardtalk from budapest. i'm stephen sackur. hungary is a relatively small country in the heart of europe. it is led by a nationalist, populist prime minister, viktor orban, who believes his opposition to immigration, his defence of so—called christian values can transform notjust hungary but the whole of the european union. my guests in is hungary's foreign minister, peter szijjarto. but can ‘0rbanism' win europe's battle of ideas?
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peter szijjarto, welcome to hardtalk. thank you very much for the invitation again. what is fascinating about being in budapest right now is that, in the past couple of days, hundreds of huge posters have gone up around this city, depicting george soros, the american financier, next to jean—claude juncker, the president of the eu commission. and the message is that the european union — presumably in association with soros — is threatening the security of hungary. why does your country feel the need to indulge in this black propaganda? well, first of all, this is an election campaign so you should not be surprised of posters appearing in public areas... but this has nothing to do with elections because it's funded by the hungarian government, it doesn't have any party label on it, it is simply a message to from the government to your people. we think that it is absolutely
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the obligation of a state, of a government to inform their citizens about developments which have an impact on their country, especially if there is an impact on their security, on their everyday life. you know, the government has this obligation and we inform the people about these issues and to answer the substance of your question as well, you know, george soros definitely has a totally different vision about the future of europe and about the future of hungary compared to what we have. that had been announced by him many times. it is absolutely open, it's public and we have a strong, let's say, heavy debate with him on this issue... let's deal with...if i may...
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let's deal with...if i may... one second, just one sentence, if he is allowed to go open with his criticism, with his different vision, with his intention to throw out this government, my question is, why we hungarians, why we the government should not have the right to enter into this debate and go public as well. ok, let's deal with this piece by piece. first, you tell me that your government you tell me has a duty to inform. i would not imagine that you feel your government has a duty or indeed a right to lie, but the information provided, both in this poster and the facebook and social media posts which your government has put up about the poster, they are full of lies. can you give me the concrete issue because fighting the perception is not myjob. for example, your facebook and social media psost say the eu is intent upon weakening border protection. yes, this is the case. it is categorically not the case according to a host of eu officials. but they are lying. they are lying. they are lying because, look,
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remember back in 2015 and the time since 2015, what was the major debate? whether hungary made it right or not to seal off the green border, whether hungary made it right or not to build up a fence and make it impossible for illegal migrants to go across the border. can you give me an example, just one example on a positive comments coming from european politicians or european media? no, everybody was attacking it and the european commission was taking the lead in that, to attacking hungary to protect its border. then, my question is, who is lying? they are because they wanted to weaken our capacity to protect our border, they still want to weaken our capacity because they want frontex to protect the borders. do you know what frontex is? frontex is a travel agency. it is not a border protection agency. they would basically like to take away part of the rights of the sovereign nation states
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to protect their own borders. but our position is that protection of the border is a national obligation. here's another one, you claim that the eu is eager to ease access to migrant visas. again categorically untrue according to all of the detailed presentations from eu officials. they are lying. they say, and i'm quoting the vice president... they are lying. "you are living in a parallel universe." they, they are living in the parallel universe. they should listen to people, you know. they should listen to people and they should stop lying. because the whole migration policy, of the european commission, in the last years, was just about how to invite migrants to this continent. one other aspect of this campaign... in hungary people have decided many times. one other aspect of your campaign that i need to address and that is this association of george soros with jean—claude juncker, the clear implication of your message being that somehow soros is pulling the levers of the european union as a direct association and,
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in the words of your own prime minister, "soros is in control of a conspiracy to lure migrants into europe". this is not a secret. there is not one shred of evidence to support that contention. i mean, let's look at the issue on a factual bases, instead of emotions, because i think it is very important to keep all debates about the future of the eu on a factual basis because then we have a... so you tell me how jean—claude juncker. .. ..then we have a hope tp come to a conclusion. explain to me, factually, howjean—claudejuncker is a puppet of george soros? george soros has put out his plan and vision about the future of european union quite many times, openly — you can look at the internet... that's not what i'm asking you about. i am asking for specific evidence. he put out his plan. look at what was
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included in his plan. how many migrants should be brought into the european union, how much it would be significant that there are borders and national identity, how much the border protection capacity should be pushed back and look at the policy of the european commission since 2015 — exactly — exactly carrying out those points, which have been included in the plan of george soros. my question is... that's not evidence and you know it. crosstalk. in your view that's evidence? absolutely. that's absurd. no, this is the evidence. it has been written by george soros and that has been complete by the european commission. my question is, my question is, why european commissioners have received george soros 21 times during the last years, without any kind of public announcement afterwards? there is no evidence. you have presented not a shred of evidence that george soros is controlling the eu immigration policy. please compare... just because soros says things and just because the eu does things is not a causal relationship. and what if they are the same?
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and they are the same, they are the same. they are not the same. even if they were the same, that is not evidence. crosstalk. that's just not evidence. it is. you think it is not evidence, we think it is evidence. i respect your position and i expect you to respect mine as well. it has been exactly the same migration policy carried out by the european union which has been written in the soros plan. that's the fact. you asked to be judged on what happens in this country. you are being judged by what happens in this country. the european parliament hasjudged you and last september it voted to begin article 7 punitive actions inside the eu because of your systemic abuse of eu norms and values — that's a judgement. there were 69 points in this report — 69. out of which, 13 has already been agreed by the government and by the european commission back in 2011-2013 so we can consider them closed.
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then there were 19 points about which we have a constant dialogue with the european commission, which is a normal way of resolving different approaches about issues in the eu. and there were 37 points which were simple, systematic qualified lies about my country. one by one. i was there twice in the libe commission, i have answered all these questions. we have handed out more than 100—pager leaflet, point by point, going through why those are lies and why those are not true about my country. we can go through some of them if you like... please. ..which are clearly not lies, for example, the central european university has been denied the ability to hand out us degrees.
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it is therefore forced to move to vienna, michael ignatieff rector of the university... that is a big lie. it is fake news. they are here. i have been, i have spoken to the rector, michael ignatieff... are they here? he says... crosstalk. they are here! it's a lie that they moved, they are here. it is not a lie that the headquarters has moved to vienna and the mike ignatieff is going to have to move to vienna. as he describes it, "it is as a tragedy for academic freedom, a tragedy for hungary and for europe." "it approves," he says, "that this government is ready to manipulate the law and democracy for its own purposes". he lies. what is the situation? there is a law in hungary on higher education, which applies to all higher education institutions exactly the same way — exactly the same way. what does it say? it says that, if you are a foreign—based university, you are allowed to issue a diploma of another country if you have a school in that given country, so suggesting that they had to move from hungary is a lie because they are here, they are issuing hungarian diploma, they have all the accreditations which are necessary to operate in hungary, and they can continue. the only thing they cannot do is they cannot issue us diploma because they do not
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have a school in the us. is it also a lie that un experts have been denied access to your transit zones on the border with serbia, again, flouting international norms and standards? is that a lie? the un officials were here, they went to the border. they had the chance to look around so i do not understand... where they denied access inside your transit zone, yes or no? i was not there. i don't know, what kind of... i'll help you, the answer is yes. the un said quite simply, "we were denied access". we are a sovereign country, right? we are a sovereign country, there are laws and rights here whom to allow to have access to where and if you contradicting the law you cannot go there... nobody was contradicting the law. the only people contradicting the law, apparently, according to many independent sources are your governments flouting norms and procedures when it comes to the rights of would—be refugees seeking refugee status in hungary itself.
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crosstalk. the helsinki committee quote, "the government consistently flouts international law when it comes to the treatment of migrants". it is not true. they are a bias organization financed by the soros matrix. it is not true. are they one of these organisations which the state media here has described as "mercenary soros organisations"? i went to see un officials after these comments were made, in geneva, all of them and i asked them what is your questions? why do you do that? why do you write lies? they refer to their own bureaucracy. one of them said that story ijust write, i did not know what was in the report, and all this kind of stuff. you know, if anybody is open to any kind of dialogue, it is me and it is the government. i go to new york, i go to geneva, a little bit more often than i home as a duration of course. and i'm always open, i'm always ready to talk face—to—face about concrete issues but putting out such kind of allegations and perceptions is just simply not fair.
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the un has also looked at systemic corruption and what has happened to eu funds over many years in this country. those are all reasons why the european union, the democratically elected parliament of the eu, has decided that hungary must face article 7 sanctions. what i can tell you about the democratically elected european parliament is that they made a cheating during the voting. you know why? because in all parliaments in the world, including the european parliament, you have three options — vote yes, vote no, and vote abstention. and the only way that they could create two—form majority was that they took out abstention from counting. did you know that? isn't there a simple truth... crosstalk. any time from european bureaucrats, how is it possible that in a vote in session you take abstention out? ttotally contradicting the modus operandi in that parliament. what would you raise as a question if we had done the same in hungary? double standards you applie always.
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double standards you apply always. we have to understand, there is a phenomena that we are usually under attack by a mainstream media and mainstream political elite in europe and it is very unusual that someone fights back but we are not ready to take these accusations and allegations and we always fight back because we have to defend our country. you always question decisions here in hungary, we are nation of freedom fighters. do you think it would be impossible to win seven elections in a row, like we did, in the last ten years, all national, all regional, all european parliament elections, if such kind of allegations were true? would you think that hungarian people would give their trust to this party seven continuous times in ten years if these allegations were true, that there would have been systemic corruption, dictatorship? de think hungarian people are not mature enough to make their own decisions? isn't there a simple truth here in hungary? you, on the one hand,
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say that the brussels establishment, and you always speak of it as though you're not part of it, but of course you are, you always suggest that the brussels establishment is in the pay of george soros. you've just said to me that you believe jean—claude juncker is controlled by george soros. that's what i think, that's right. and yet you never talk about leaving what you must regard as a completely corrupted organisation, and the reason you do not is because hungary relies on the billions of euros sent from the cohesion funds and other funds into this country every year. you both want to say you're not part of this union, and at the very same time, you are one of the chief beneficiaries of this union. i think it's an extremely important point which you raise now, because this is another very unfair accusation, not the way you put here now but what is — how it is usually portrayed. why? number one, we are part of the european union and we will be part of the european union, but in the european union now, we are part of the solution and not
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part of the problem, and we contribute to the success of the european union. why? yes, we got european funds here but this is not an outcome of generosity of western european friends of ours. this is based on contracts and this is a 2—way street. one way is european funds coming here, the other way, we have opened our market and you know how many profits western european companies have gained here? do you know the fact that 70 cents of every euros which come to this country in forms of european funds is going back to the western part of europe? did you know that? if you know it and other representatives of distinguished media knows it, and western politicians know it, why don't they say it? on the other hand, there are specific questions which come from the flow of cohesion funds. now, olaf, the internal auditing organisation of the european union, has looked for years at the way in which your government has spent
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the funds, including on street lighting across this country, improving water services, and last year it said because of systemic failings and corruption, it wanted 280 plus million euros returned to brussels because it had been misspent in this country. how much of it have you returned? in this case, i only can refer you to the prosecutor general‘s office because these kinds of issues should be investigated by them, and they have investigated these issues... but you must now how much have you returned. you are foreign minister, you must know. you are not quite aware of the governmental structure here, because the eu funds do not belong to the foreign ministry. of course not, but you go to brussels all the time and it's important you must have a positive relationship with brussels. i do. how much has hungary returned? once again, ask it from my colleagues who are responsible. you sit here as an accountable foreign minister of your government
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and you won't tell me? yes. is that reasonable given that's money paid for by taxpayers of the european union and it's been abused and misspent inside your country. come on, again, you put accusations and allegations on my country which i must reject, because... they're not my allegations. you quoted them... i quoted them but they're not my allegations. it's not fair because in this country, the prosecutor general‘s office is the responsible authority to investigate such kind of issues and if they find no crime, then i have to reject these kind of allegations which you quoted, with my respect. it is philosophically interesting, as you put it, to see that hungary is determined to reshape the european union from within, which i guess explains the strong political relationship that your prime minister has developed with marine le pen, with matteo salvini, with the nationalist government in poland. what are you speaking about madame le pen, salvini?
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can you tell me? what did they speak about? your own prime minister is saying you are forging an alliance with all those who are opposed to immigration. he said in the last few weeks, as far as he is concerned... if you have a tight relationship with someone, you must meet sometimes, right? but this is ideological. it is practical to meet with someone, not ideological. did you not actually hear your own leader say, all the forces who are adamantly opposed to immigration in europe should fight together in this european election to create a new movement, a new bloc? what we think is that it would be necessary and it would be beneficiary on behalf, for the european union, that anti—migration forces would get the majority in the european parliament, and then in the european commission as well.
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that is our position and our hope, and that is why we are working to have the best possible results reached here in hungary to contribute the same, this target to be completed. that anti—migration forces will have the majority in the european parliament, and the european commission. is this your way of saying that after the may elections, in a few days‘ time, you in the fidesz party will no longer be a mainstream part of the mainstream conservative epp? we want to remain. all those anti—immigration forces, they are not part of the epp. jean—claude juncker has just said in the future, your party, fidesz, has no place in the epp. it's not for him to decide. that's one opinion but it's not for him to decide. if i can just refer back a long time ago to 2011, the debate about migration had been there within the european people's party, but it was not allowed because at that time, we didn't have this influx. the debate was there.
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we debated about whether migration was the right answer for the at that time already existing labour market and demographic challenges in the european union. our position was no, migration is not the right answer. find some other national answers. there were parties in the epp that said yes, they feel it is. so this debate has always been there. one way the eu is going to change very soon is britain leaving, brexit. we regret that. do you want the eu to offer more and new concessions to britain to ensure that it does not leave with no deal? any change to the current position of the european union must be made by an unanimous decision of 27 countries. i assume it would be very complicated to open it and change it in a way that can be closed by the 27 as well, but i mean, i don't know, we are only one of them, of the 27, so let's see. there has been a description of viktor orban‘s hungary as in the vanguard of illiberal democracy,
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and, at times, mr orban has embraced that notion of illiberal democracy, and we've discussed different aspects of it in this interview. are you proud to sit here and say that hungary believes in illiberal democracy and wants it to spread throughout europe? no, we believe in democracy, because we are a democratic country, we are a democratic people. prime minister orban is, i think, the only european politician who has run all the national parliament elections from 1990, he won four times, he lost four times, he always stayed, he was always accountable, he has never escaped to the supervisory body of russian energy companies, you know, he was always here. he was here for his citizens and he was accountable. so from this perspective, i think he is the most democratic leader in the european union. now, what he said about illiberal democracy, i think it is very unfair towards him and the country not to quote it properly.
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what he said was, we are kind of fed up with the approach that if it is not the liberal parties to win the election, then they immediately consider it as non—democracy. so if you wish, our democracy can be considered an illiberal one because it is not the liberal party to rule, and i think it's not fair that the liberal parties always try to portray countries as non—democratic if they are not in power. that is what we meand under this expression, that i hope to understand. i suppose my thought is you want to see your form, your style of politics spread wider than europe. well, actually, we are responsible for hungary, so don't put too much burden on our shoulders. we are for a strong european union but the thing is that to get to a strong european union, we need to have strong member states, so we really do not absolutely agree with the approach that weaker the member states are, the stronger
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the european union would be. our view is that the stronger the member states are, the stronger the european union would be in the future, but that's a very heavy debate and i think this debate will be with us for a pretty long time. peter szijjarto, we have to end there but thank you very much being on hardtalk. it was my pleasure, thank you. well, to the changed quite a bit, as promised and in fact over the next few days, we are in for some pretty gusty winds and wet weather too. the atla ntic gusty winds and wet weather too. the atlantic is looking very turbulent at the moment, you can see these forces swinging around and these are heading in our direction and friday is actually going to temporarily improve because we will be between weather systems. —— vortices. improve because we will be between weathersystems. —— vortices. first thing in the morning, it will be
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quiet, there's a lot of missed and merc around but not a lot happening on the weather front. nine degrees in london, quite a mild start. friday morning and afternoon, there will be sent sunshine developing across western areas of the uk, as i suspect cardiff, eventually birmingham, manchester, glasgow could get some sunshine. most of us are stuck under the cloud. still mild, you will notice rain approaching belfast. that rain will splash its way through the course of writing night and approach western areas of the uk, so there will be some rain around and then early saturday morning, once again looking pretty mild across the uk with temperatures around five to six, seven degrees. the weekend itself is looking very blustery, really strong winds up towards the west. there will be some areas of big low pressure on the way, lots of isobars here, that is what is really going to turn things off around western areas of the uk. here it is as it go through the course of saturday, the
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low pressure swings in, heavy rain splashes its way through northern ireland, reaches scotland, the western coast, you go through the course of saturday, the low pressure swings in, heavy rain splashes its way through northern ireland, reaches scotland, the western coast, it could seek trust in excess of 60 miles an hour. however, it does not actually look too bad across east anglia and the south—east, i think the rain will reach you a little bit later on temperatures could reach around 1a or 15 degrees. the bad weather will reach the south and south—east on sunday. in fact, this low pressure and its weather front will swing into south—western parts of england, wales, the midlands, the southern counties, london east anglia, and it could be really soaking day across this part of the world on sunday, while scotland enjoys some bite whether an a cooler day i think for many of us on sunday. to the north, we may not even be making double figures. it is all change on the weather front and this cooler, changeable weather continues into next week.
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