Infrastructure, low tax are priority for V4 leader Hungary

WARSAW, Poland — Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Wednesday that investment and developing infrastructure facilitated by low tax are the main goals for his government as it takes the annual rotating leadership of the Visegrad Group in central Europe.

Orban also spoke out against any European plans for relocating migrants and said Hungary was expecting “respect” rather than lessons from other members of the 27-nation European Union for its contribution to the club’s growth.

Orban was speaking in Katowice, southern Poland, at a meeting concluding Poland’s presidency of the Visegrad Group, or V4. Hungary will take it over on Thursday. The prime ministers of the two other members, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, also attended the meeting.

Orban said Hungary’s priority for V4 was a quick restart through investment, especially in roads and railways that should run through the region linking Europe’s north and south.

“There will be investment only when taxes are low,” Orban said.

“For that reason we will not back any international initiatives that would lead to the increase of taxes,” Orban said.

Orban linked security to migration and repeated the group’s firm stand against any form of obligatory relocation of migrants.

He also commented on recent statements by some EU leaders condemning a new law in Hungary that prohibits sharing content on homosexuality or sex reassignment to people under 18 in school sex education programs, films or advertisements.

“We are expecting respect. We cannot agree to other EU member countries telling us how we are supposed to raise our Hungarian children. It’s a mistake,” Orban said.

Talking about the EU’s future, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the V4 supported a quick inclusion of West Balkan nations that are best prepared for EU membership.

He argued their presence would facilitate the EU’s security policy related to illegal migration.

Prime Ministers Andrej Babis of the Czech Republic and Eduard Heger of Slovakia stressed the importance of vaccination in fighting the pandemic, especially now that highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading in some countries. They agreed on the need for a joint plan, for the V4 and for the EU, for giving the European economy a boost following the pandemic-era downturn.

The four countries want to have an active role in discussions about the future of the EU, their government leaders said.

Initiated in 1991, the group is a forum for developing political and economic ties between the four countries and for strengthening their position in Europe.