‘Uncensored’ debate features three speeches and no dissenting voices

A handout photo made available by the Hungarian Prime Minister's Press Office shows Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (L) receives Francois-Xavier Bellamy (R), head of the French Republican Party MEPs in the Carmelite Monastery in Budapest, Hungary, 07 July 2020. In the center Katalin Novak, Vice President of Fidesz and State Secretary for Family and Youth Affairs is seen. Bellamy chaired the EUROPE UNCENSORED online conference on 08 July, at which Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Janez Jansa, prime minister of Slovenia participated. [EPA-EFE/Benko Vivien Cher]

Leaders of Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia spoke of the threat of regional conflicts and the need to reestablish the power-balance in Europe in the wake of Brexit and COVID-19 crisis during an online conference on Wednesday (8 July).

The debate — described as being “without useless political correctness, without taboos, completely uncensored” by the organiser, Foundation for Civic Hungary think thank president Zoltán Balog — was moderated by François-Xavier Bellamy, a philosophy teacher from Versailles who became an MEP with the conservative European People’s Party (EPP).

François-Xavier Bellamy, a quirky lead candidate for the French right

François-Xavier Bellamy, a philosophy teacher from Versailles, does not believe in European democracy but wants to advance the idea of Europe by working on culture and education. Bellamy believes Europe’s roots are Christian, but not exclusively. EURACTIV France reports.

Serbia’s conservative President Aleksandar Vučić, reelected in a landslide victory last month, warned of increasing regional tensions.

As relations between Pristina and Belgrade remain sour, both Kosovo and Serbia have been facing mounting pressure from the West to reopen negotiations, after a series of diplomatic tit-for-tats.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host together with the EU a video summit between Serbia and Kosovo on Friday (10 July).

France, Germany seek to unfreeze stalled Kosovo-Serbia talks

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host together with the EU a video summit on Friday (10 July) between Serbia and Kosovo aimed at easing tensions between the Balkan rivals.

Vučić expressed his support for further European defence integration, saying that “in the future, Serbia, will be very ready to be supportive and to be a part of a bigger united European military strength than it used to be, than it is.”

Serbia, which was bombed by NATO in 1999 in an air campaign launched to halt Belgrade’s crackdown on Kosovo, has vowed to remain ‘neutral’ and not to join the transatlantic alliance.

“I think that Europe has to understand what happened after Brexit, that it’s not only us that need Europe but also that Europe needs at least some of us from the Western Balkans,” Vučić added. Six Western Balkan countries hope to join the EU, with Serbia and Montenegro already in membership talks and Albania and North Macedonia due to open them soon.

Brexit was high on the agenda for Slovenia’s conservative, anti-immigration prime minister, Janez Janša, who said that “Brexit is a strategic catastrophe.”

“European Union is many things and one condition for its existence is balance of power. Brexit has significantly changed this balance and a new one is needed.”

The veteran prime minister, who had been a prominent opponent of communism in the 1980s and then led the Slovenian government from 2004 to 2008 and from 2012 to 2013, identified “cultural marxism” as the biggest ideological threat for the EU.

“To create a new world, you need to dismantle the nation, family, private property, private schools and religion, and this is going on now. This is cultural marxism and this massive offensive is going on through mass media, universities, cultural industry, multinational institutions some and political parties.”

Janez Jansa, admirer of Viktor Orban, to be nominated PM of Slovenia

The centre-right Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), led by former prime minister Janez  Janša, late on Tuesday (25 February) agreed on a future government coalition with three other parties, the four parties said.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also pointed to a shift in the power balance in Europe with the departure of the UK.

“Whatever difficulties arise, everyone expects Germany to save the integration. Seventy-five years ago, Germany was bombed back to the middle ages, and now they are again the only big country that can save the European countries, which are having dreadful economic difficulties at this moment.”

Orbán said that instead of telling the EU’s international partners, including China, Russia, Turkey, Israel and the US, “how to run their own country… the West should not force its views on Eastern countries.”

“We need to learn to tolerate our differences again and we, central Europeans, should not want to tell the Westerners how they should run their country.”

“So if we are ready to accept these differences, even in terms of the vision for the future, we can manage to live together and we can keep together the Union as a whole,” Orbán added.

Slovenian PM calls for mandatory coronavirus app, against Commission advice

Coronavirus contact tracing applications should be made mandatory as a means of helping the European Union transition out of the public health crisis and open up its borders, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša said on Wednesday (8 July).

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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