Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was overheard harshly criticizing the European Union (EU) during his visit to Budapest, where he took part on Wednesday in the Visegrad Group summit with the leaders of four central European nations.
“I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear,” Netanyahu said in a closed-door meeting with the leaders of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, unaware that his microphone was broadcasting the conversation to journalists outside the room.
“I am not very politically correct,” he said. “I know that’s a shock to some of you. It’s a joke. But the truth is the truth — both about Europe’s security and Europe’s economic future. Both of these concerns mandate a different policy towards Israel.”
Netanyahu urged the central European leaders to implement stricter border controls for refugees entering the EU from Africa and the Middle East.
“The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel, that produces technology in every area, on political conditions. The only ones! Nobody does it,” he said, moments before officials cut off the microphone.
“It’s crazy. It’s actually crazy,” Netanyahu added, in reference to the EU’s insistence on pressuring Israel to make concessions in negotiations with the Palestinians as a precondition to certain deals with the 28-nation bloc.