Croatian president blasts EU penalties against Hungary

Jan 20, 2023, 8:27 AM | Updated: 8:32 am
Hungarian President Katalin Novak, right, receives Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, left, with m...

Hungarian President Katalin Novak, right, receives Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, left, with military honours at the parliament building in Budapest, Hungary, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. (Noemi Bruzak/MTI via AP)

(Noemi Bruzak/MTI via AP)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Croatia’s president said Friday that efforts by the European Union to uphold democratic standards in member countries threatened to tear the bloc apart, and condemned EU efforts to financially penalize Hungary for its alleged breaches of rule of law standards.

President Zoran Milanovic made the statements during a news conference in Hungary’s capital Budapest following talks with his Hungarian counterpart Katalin Novák. Milanovic echoed frequent Hungarian criticism of the EU, saying the bloc was overreaching in its powers over member states and that this excessive control had precipitated Brexit and driven the United Kingdom out.

The EU shouldn’t become, he said, a “United States of Europe,” adding that EU procedures against Hungary — which have frozen billions of euros in funding to Budapest over corruption and rule of law concerns — threatened to destroy the 27-member bloc.

“This sort of approach (between the EU and Hungary) is deeply irritating,” he said, warning that “today it is Hungary, tomorrow it will be some bigger country that will need to be ‘taught a lesson.'”

Milanovic won the presidential election in Croatia in late 2019 as a liberal and left-leaning candidate, a counterpoint to the conservative government currently in power in the newest EU member state. But he has since made a turn to populist nationalism, and criticized Western policies both toward the Balkans and Russia.

Milanovic has thus developed a reputation as pro-Russia, which he has denied. Yet in recent months, he has openly opposed the admission of Finland and Sweden into NATO amid the war in Ukraine, and the training of Ukrainian troops in Croatia as part of EU aid to the embattled country.

While the heads of state said they both condemn Russian aggression in Ukraine and support its territorial integrity, Milanovic said he, like Hungary’s government, doesn’t support sanctions against Moscow, and characterized the conflict in Ukraine as a proxy war between Russia and the United States.

“The question is how much damage (sanctions) will bring upon us. It creates damage to Europe,” Milanovic said. “We managed to bring Russia and China closer together. In whose interest is this? All those questions will have to be answered to me, especially by those who are making those decisions in my name. I demand an answer.”

Novák on Friday told the news conference that she welcomed Croatia’s Jan. 1 entrance into the 27-country Schengen Area, a zone of border-free travel in Europe.

With the entrance of Croatia into the zone, a border fence separating Hungary and Croatia was subsequently dismantled, a change that Novák said would grow tourism and ease travel between the neighboring countries and move the EU’s external borders further to the south.

Novák also called on Ukrainian authorities to respect the rights of the Hungarian ethnic minority in the western Ukrainian region of Transcarpathia, where she said that Hungarian flags had been recently removed from public institutions in what she called a restriction of minority rights.

___

Jovana Gec contributed to this report from Belgrade, Serbia.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Hungarian President Katalin Novak, right, and Croatian President Zoran Milanovic throw coins into the Fountain of Neptune in the courtyard of the presidential Alexander Palace in Budapest, Hungary, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. (Noemi Bruzak/MTI via AP)
            
              Hungarian President Katalin Novak, right, and Croatian President Zoran Milanovic hold a bilateral meeting in the presidential Alexander Palace in Budapest, Hungary, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. (Noemi Bruzak/MTI via AP)
            
              Hungarian President Katalin Novak, right, receives Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, left, with military honours at the parliament building in Budapest, Hungary, Friday, Jan. 20, 2023. (Noemi Bruzak/MTI via AP)

AP

FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks after being sworn in to begin his second term during an ina...
Associated Press

Florida lawmakers to meet next week on Disney, immigration

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida lawmakers will meet next week to complete a state takeover of Walt Disney World’s self-governing district and debate proposals on immigration and election crimes, as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to leverage national political fissures ahead of an expected White House run. Republican leaders of the Legislature, in coordination with […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Johnny Thai, 11, receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a pediatric vaccine clinic for chil...
Associated Press

California won’t require COVID vaccine to attend schools

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Children in California won’t have to get the coronavirus vaccine to attend schools, state public health officials confirmed Friday, ending one of the last major restrictions of the pandemic in the nation’s most populous state. Gov. Gavin Newsom first announced the policy in 2021, saying it would eventually apply to all […]
19 hours ago
Part of the 988helpline.org website is photographed Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. A cyberattack caused a ne...
Associated Press

Feds say cyberattack caused suicide helpline’s outage

WASHINGTON (AP) — A cyberattack caused a nearly daylong outage of the nation’s new 988 mental health helpline late last year, federal officials told The Associated Press Friday. Lawmakers are now calling for the federal agency that oversees the program to prevent future attacks. “On December 1, the voice calling functionality of the 988 Lifeline […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Workers at the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tenn., walk by a Nissan Altima sedan on May 15, 2012....
Associated Press

US board clears path for mini-union vote at big Nissan plant

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Fewer than 100 employees out of the thousands who work at Nissan’s auto assembly plant in Tennessee can hold a vote on whether to form a small union, the federal labor board has decided. The ruling Thursday by the National Labor Relations Board overturns a June 2021 decision by one of […]
19 hours ago
A person gambles as betting odds for NFL football's Super Bowl are displayed on monitors at the Cir...
Associated Press

Super Bowl prop betting increasing in popularity

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jay Kornegay was behind the counter in 2004 when someone approached with $5,000 to bet on the Super Bowl but had no idea how to decide. The man, not a regular sports bettor, thought for a few moments and decided to put it all on the Carolina Panthers to score exactly […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Ford, Starbucks fall; Clorox, Gilead Sciences rise

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that traded heavily or had substantial price changes Friday: Ford Motor Co., down $1.09 to $13.12. The automaker reported disappointing fourth-quarter earnings and said its costs are too high. Amazon.com Inc., down $9.52 to $103.39. The online retail giant’s fourth-quarter profit slumped and missed analysts’ forecasts. Alphabet Inc., down $2.96 […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Croatian president blasts EU penalties against Hungary