Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: PMO

Orbán: ‘We are closer than ever to world war’

The world is closer than ever to a local conflict becoming world war, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told public radio on Friday. "Leaders of the western world are gripped by war fever, holding speeches calling for winning the war and making further sacrifices, and sending increasingly dangerous weapons to Ukraine," Orbán said in an interview.

Rather than promoting peace unanimously, the world is divided, Orbán said: Turkic and Arab states, China and African countries want a ceasefire and peace talks, he said.

At the same time, Hungary is “basically the only” pro-peace European country besides the Vatican, he said.

Pro-war countries are motivated as much by “business speculations, defence and economic policy considerations and calculations on post-war advantages” as by commitment to principles and faith, Orbán insisted.

Meanwhile, Hungary must have a strong military and promote peace at the same time, he said.

A country can defend itself if its citizens love their homeland and are ready to defend it in trouble rather than fleeing from it, Orbán said in an interview.

Hungary needs a combat-ready army, and the government is working to increase the number of troops, their commitment to their homeland and vocation, their level of training, and their prestige, Orbán said. They must also be equipped with modern weapons, he said.

“Being pro-peace doesn’t mean we have to be defenceless,” he said.

Hungary’s argument for peace does not come from weakness, he said. “We do not want peace because we are not strong enough to protect ourselves but because peace is good and war is bad.”

Leftist parties “are pro-war, and “as long as they are being financed from abroad”, they are expected to stay that way, he said. However, the parliamentary majority ensures a bigger weight to the “party of peace”, Orbán said.

The war is also a tool for “restructuring power in Europe,” Orbán said. While every country must prepare for what comes after the war, “a responsible leader cannot afford himself to publicly speculate on its outcome.”

At the same time, Orbán said new opportunities have opened to those that want to change traditional European power relations, formed around the Franco-German axis. In the past, the US did not directly interfere in shaping European politics but this has changed with the war in Ukraine and the US is now leading a “pro-war coalition” behid Ukraine, Orbán said.

“The Americans stand behind heroically fighting Ukrainians, which does not detract from the value of Ukrainians’ heroism but the truth is that Ukraine can only continue fighting as long as the US says yes to it,” he said. “Once the US says no, a ceasefire will ensue,” he added.

Donald Trump who plans to run for president again wants a ceasefire, so the outcome of the 2024 US elections will have a direct influence on whether the war continues or a ceasefire and peace talks take place, Orbán said.

He also said that scrapping war-related sanctions would be the fastest way to curb inflation, and Hungary will continue to veto measures that would cause “the most immediate damage” to its economy. Should the European Union scrap the sanctions imposed on Russia tomorrow, inflation would halve instantly, then gradually return to 2-3 percent, Orbán said.

The ten packages of sanctions so far meant “ten bloody [political] battles” when the government had to stand up for the country’s interests, Orbán said, praising Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto’s leadership in the matter.

Thanks to government measures, inflation is expected to return to single digits by the end of the year, he said.

Support for the steps protecting families, pensioners and SMEs is widespread, and they are generally expected to yield results, he said. Those results should be visible by the end of 2023 the latest, he said.

Orbán said the gap between Brussels and Hungary is insurmountable when it comes to gender affairs but “since we will not yield [to pressure], Brussels will have to”.

Parents have every right to expect help from the government in protecting their children, and raising children should remain the responsibility of parents, Orbán said. Schools must not be allowed to promote a way of life that parents disagree with, he added.

“Gender identity belongs in this latter category because the Hungarian approach is that propaganda has no place in schools,” he said. If the standards of child protection loosen, the number of paedophile crimes will increase, he added.

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