Prime minister Viktor Orbán – Photo: MTI

Orbán: Hungary against proposals threatening impoverishment of families

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has written a letter to 44 MEPs who recently approached him in an open letter concerning the war in Ukraine, Bertalan Havasi, the PM's press chief, told MTI on Thursday. In his letter, Orbán voiced support for peace and assistance to Ukraine, but also rejected "remarks offending Hungary", sanctions against religious leaders and "sanction proposals that go against common sense", Havasi said.

Concerning the war in Ukraine, Orbán said Hungary condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty and violation of the Budapest Memorandum. Hungary wants peace, the prime minister said. The armed conflict must end and disputes must be settled through negotiations, he added.

Orbán also called for efforts to help Ukraine and people fleeing the country. He noted that Hungary had so far accommodated nearly 800,000 refugees, providing shelter, food, medical aid, schooling for children and jobs for adults. Tens of thousands of Hungarians have opened their homes to refugees, raised funds or worked as volunteers, while the government sent money, food, fuel, and medicines to war-stricken Ukraine, he said. For all its efforts Hungary “deserves appreciation and gratitude rather than offensive and lecturing remarks”, Havasi quoted the prime minister as saying.

The Hungarian government protects religious freedoms, therefore it will never support sanctions against church leaders or isolating them from members of their church, Orbán said, adding that peace could not be achieved without the active participation of churches.

In his letter, Orbán also insisted that the Hungarian government had done everything to support the six sanctions packages approved so far in the interest of European unity. Hungary backed the sanctions even though it became increasingly difficult to maintain the earlier consensus that the sanctions should not hurt the EU more than they hurt Russia, he said.

According to Orbán, the European Council takes unanimous decisions under the bloc’s basic treaty, therefore a veto “cannot be interpreted as there is no decision without consensus”.

Orbán said that in the interest of Europe he reserved Hungary’s right to fight proposals that went against common sense and threatened the impoverishment of Hungarian and European families. The prime minister said he was certain that he would find “more and more partners” among his letter’s recipients in this endeavour. This is not only in the interest of Hungary but of Europe, also, he said.

Hungary backs EU candidate status for Moldova, PM says

Viktor Orbán discussed the war in Ukraine and Moldova’s European integration with Natalia Gavrilita, his Moldovan counterpart, in a phone call on Thursday, Havasi said. Orbán and Gavrilita talked about the situation in Ukraine, including the refugee crisis, noting that both of their countries neighbour Ukraine and help hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the war.

Orbán welcomed the Moldovan government’s plan to obtain European Union candidate country status. Hungary will support Moldova’s EU integration throughout the path towards membership, Havasi cited the prime minister as saying.

Orbán and Gavrilita also praised their countries’ historical ties and expressed their support for further boosting bilateral economic and training cooperation, Havasi added.

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