Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

‘Utopian fantasy’: Hungary’s Orban attacks EU climate change policy in latest spat

The Hungarian Prime Minister said green proposals would ‘destroy’ the middle class

Thomas Kingsley
Thursday 21 October 2021 16:46 BST
Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban is good at turning EU aggression to political advantage
Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban is good at turning EU aggression to political advantage (AFP via Getty Images)

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has dismissed EU plans of tackling climate change as a “utopian fantasy.”

On Thursday Mr Orban suggested the green measures were pushing up energy costs in Europe. The comments come less than two weeks before world leaders will gather at Cop26 to discuss and negotiate climate change solutions.

“Raising the prices, having a new regulation, rocketing the prices to the sky, destroying the middle class,” Mr Orban said, referring to proposed EU climate measures, on his arrival to a summit of EU leaders.

“Common sense on one side and fantasy on the other one. And utopian fantasy kills us - that's the problem with energy prices as well.”

Both analysts and the European Commission have said the main catalyst of rising electricity costs in Europe has been soaring gas prices, which are five times higher than last year’s prices.

The EU carbon market has contributed up to a fifth of the power price rise. Brussels has proposed a package of new climate policies, which EU countries will need to negotiate and approve before they take effect.

Cop26 begins in November (Getty Images)

Ursula von der Leyen and Frans Timmermans will represent the EU at Cop26 in November, while the UN’s secretary-general Antonio Guterres will be there with special envoy Patricia Espinosa, who served as executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992, the forerunner to the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Mr Orban also sided with Poland’s ongoing dispute with the EU, rejecting the primacy of European law over national law.

“The fact is very clear: The primacy of EU law is not in the (EU) treaty at all,” the Hungarian leader told reporters in Brussels, adding that the idea of imposing sanctions on Poland was ridiculous.

“What’s going on here is ... those European institutions circumvent the rights of the national parliament and government, and modify the treaty without having any legitimate authority to do so,” he said.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in