A plenary session of the European Parliament - Photo: europarl.europa.eu

Orbán: Pro-peace supporters to win majority in EP

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said he expected for there to be "more pro-peace and fewer pro-war supporters" in the European Parliament after the upcoming election.

In an interview published by the daily Blikk online on Thursday, the prime minister said “wrangling between the pro-war and pro-peace camps” was present both in Europe and in the US, adding that in Europe “we are not well off … there are twenty plus member states in the European Union that are distinctly pro-war … there is one member, Hungary, which is firmly pro-peace and there is Slovakia, which has just manoeuvred itself from the pro-war position to being pro-peace by way of its new government.”

The European election will involve more than the distribution of mandates in the European Parliament, it will also be a national election in every country, the prime minister said, adding that governments indeed had a responsibility towards their citizens.

He also said he expected prime ministers’ attitude about the war to change everywhere because despite all their weaknesses, European policies were basically democratic policies, and one “cannot go against the stream without consequences for too long”. “The prime ministers will have to adapt to public opinion,” he added.

“I expect a European Parliament where pro-peace politicians are in majority,” he said, adding that he also expected power relations to change in the European Council, with more pro-peace supporters and fewer pro-war supporters.

The next level of the war, which would involve giving Ukraine technology that can reach Russia, with western European or even NATO soldiers entering Russian territory, would be considered too much even by the majority of the so-far pro-war prime ministers, he said. It is a process that requires skilful manoeuvering, and it will be influenced by both the EP election and the US presidential election in November, he added.

“These two elections together could result in a change that could take the western world, the western pro-war politics, to a pro-peace stance, and to peace,” he said.

Commenting on a recent scandal involving a presidential pardon, he said he had no available tools in that situation because the institution of the president is completely separate from the government and parliament. “It is very sensitive to deal with matters concerning the president and I try to stay away from that,” he added.

At the same time, he said former President Katalin Novak had made the right decision when she resigned.

He added that the resignation of former Justice Minister Judit Varga was an “unfortunate element” of the case, and she was a “chief victim”. For the past twenty or thirty years, whenever the president decided to grant pardon, it was a mere formality for the justice minister to undersign, even if they had not fully agreed earlier, Orbán added. For the past 25 years, it never happened that the justice minister would refuse to undersign a presidential pardon, he said.

Orbán said Varga had only followed the tradition, and her fate was undeserved. “I was very sorry that the justice minister ended up in such a situation,” he added.

He said he had met both Novak and Varga since their resignation, having met Varga more frequently and in certain issues still relying on her opinion.

Commenting on Varga’s former husband Peter Magyar, Orbán said they had only met and talked briefly, in a formal manner. “If he belonged to the inner circle then I did not,” Orbán added.

Asked if Magyar’s entry in politics annoyed him, he said it did not.

“Not a single Hungarian voter should be banned from trying themselves in the world of politics,” Orbán said. He added that Magyar’s activities belonged among “a world of affairs within the opposition” and he had no personal or emotional ties towards him.

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