Prime minister Viktor Orbán – Photo: PMO

Orbán: Hungary’s security comes first

Hungary's security comes first, so Hungary "is not at war with anyone", Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview on Friday. Orbán told public radio that the outbreak of the war in Ukraine had coincided with the general election campaign in Hungary, and the Hungarian leadership had made clear that "this is not our war", while the left-wing opposition signalled their intention to comply with "what the international community says".

If they were in power, “we would be as mired in this war as the Germans are”, the prime minister said.

“It is in Hungary’s interest to stay out of the war,” Orbán said, adding that Hungarians had “chosen peace”. The government will continue to work to keep the country from being dragged into the war, in line with “the will of the people”, he said.

Hungarian leftist politicians “funded by the West”, Orbán said, represented powers that “are using every means at their disposal to push Hungary into the war”. The ruling parties have made it clear that their priority is the country’s security. “We want a ceasefire and peace talks,” he said.

Orbán praised the government’s National Consultation surveys as a “Hungarian specialty”, designed as a “tool of vibrant democracy” after the 2010 crisis when “maintaining national unity, or at least majority, was key.”

The last round of surveys have clearly shown that Hungarians reject European Union sanctions against Russia “because they understand the damage they cause”, he said.

Hungarians believe sanctions failed to help Ukraine and “bring Russia to its knees”, but inflicted “enormous damage on” the EU and Hungary, Orbán said.

This year, Hungary will lose 3,764 billion forints (EUR 9.7bn) in lost growth, he said.

Meanwhile, the EU is planning a new sanctions package expanding the restrictions to the nuclear industry, he warned.

The prime minister said his “success at the negotiating table” depended on showing that Hungarians were united against sanctions.

“The successful National Consultation is of great help and possibly the most important factor in ensuring success,” he said.

Although the EU has criticised the number of participants in the survey, “their opinion is neither here nor there”, Orbán said. “They will have to face the prime minister at the negotiating table, and the more forceful the people have expressed their opinions, the harder that will be.”

While Hungarians want to make their voice heard in the EU, the voice of those opposing the war in western Europe is being oppressed, he said. “Western European countries are trying to get through this time of war with the least possible disturbance from the voice of the people,” he said.

The prime minister said that more than 90 percent of Western media was “globalist and liberal”, while Hungarian readers had access to liberal and globalist views of the war as well as to the patriotic, conservative view.

Regarding the issue of opposition campaign financing, Orbán said the lesson to be learnt was that in addition to the existence of a “dollar left” in Hungary, there exists a “dollar media”.

Positions represented by the left wing in the most important issues, such as migration, gender and the war, were “harmful to Hungary”.

“The reason why they do this has only become clear now: because they get paid for it,” Orbán said. “They represent these positions because they get paid for that,” he added.

At the same time, right-wing parties “must not abandon hope and continue to strive for full national unity on important issues,” he said.

Orbán said it was hopeful that the source of the money would be revealed. “The technique for bringing in resources is already known: they came through a network linked to [US financier] George Soros,” he said.

“Once the facts are revealed, it will be necessary to create legal regulations for a system of defence against politicians that can be bought with money,” he added.

Meanwhile, Orbán said the government would not support any sanctions that further increase inflation.

The most important issue is energy and the sanctions against Russia must not affect nuclear energy, he said. In the past, Hungary has already achieved getting an exemption concerning oil imports, he added.

Despite the government giving back 13th month pensions, significantly increasing the minimum wage and refunding one year’s tax to families, “for the people, everyday reality is the reality in the shop”, Orbán said.

The government is fighting inflation, “a vaccine has been administered”, and it is already working in the economy, he said. Inflation could start decreasing from February or March and drop to single digit by the end of the year, he added.

The government and the central bank are coordinating their moves in order to achieve this, Orbán said.

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