‘Get your hat and leave,’ Hungary’s Orban tells EU top officials

By Thomson Reuters Apr 19, 2024 | 9:39 AM

By Anita Komuves and Boldizsar Gyori

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – The European Union’s top officials must be replaced as they do not deserve another chance after the impending European Parliament elections, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.

The nationalist leader faces one of the toughest elections of his 14-year rule with his country’s economy in recession, an abuse scandal striking his family-values platform at its core, and a political newcomer threatening to upend the status quo.

“There is trouble in Brussels, big trouble. The (EU) leadership has failed,” Orban told supporters, launching his nationalist Fidesz party’s campaign for the June 6-9 ballot.

“If you have performed badly over the course of your mandate, put your voters in danger, and if they do not expect anything more from you, there is only one thing left: Get your hat and leave.”

Orban has long been at odds with his EU allies and Washington over a range of issues, including refusing to send weapons to Kyiv and maintaining economic ties with Moscow since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in 2022.

Budapest has also been locked in disputes with the European Commission over rule-of-law reforms that have resulted in the suspension of billions of euros’ worth of EU funds for Hungary.

(Writing by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Hugh Lawson)