Orbán: World war ‘realistic threat’
“The war is becoming increasingly bloody and brutal, yet the number of European countries and leaders supporting peace is not on the increase at all,” Orbán said. He said the number of victims was “well over 100,000 on both sides” and “it should … make those that have so far supported the war from outside to shift towards peace”. “A large part of Europe, however, is still on the side of war, providing Ukraine with more and more brutal equipment,” he said.
Orbán said European leaders were “close to discussing the possibility of European Union members sending some kind of peace-keeping troops” to Ukraine; “we are close to that line which we had earlier thought could not be crossed”.
Since the war is in “Hungary’s neighbourhood”, the conflict is “worrying and dangerous”, he said, adding that “our security is being jeopardised”. “As more and more decisions are passed on using ever newer and stronger weapons” and “the West provides Ukraine with more and more modern equipment … the threat of a world war is no literary exaggeration,” Orbán said. While “it could sound extremely exaggerating when some European and American leaders say that if all goes on like this we could arrive at the third world war, it is a realistic danger at the moment”, he said.
“Everybody feels that this conflict could become a world war and they, too, could be affected,” Orbán said. Western Europe’s “pro-war stance is based on moral considerations: they think that the war and Ukraine must be supported because that is the right thing to do”, he said. “Hungary thinks, however, that it is peace that must be supported on a moral basis, and the world is rather in support of the Hungarian position,” he added.
According to Orbán, Hungary is subject to “direct and indirect pressure”. “They want to force us into this war,” he said, but added that parliament could not be bypassed when a decison is being made on “such a weighty matter”. “Whether Hungary should participate, and if yes in what way, or stay out of this war” could only be decided by parliament, Orbán insisted.
The Hungarian parliament is passing a resolution on Friday which states that Hungary maintains the position of peace and demands a ceasefire, Orbán said. “The Hungarian position is not about what type of peace treaty should be signed but about demanding a ceasefire,” he added. A ceasefire must be achieved, he said. Once there is a ceasefire, there is a chance for preparing the framework for peace talks, he added.
Hungary’s left wing remains pro-war, Orbán said. The parliamentary debate on a pro-peace proposal could have been a good opportunity for the left wing to give up its pro-war position and join the pro-peace camp of the ruling parties following a reasoned discussion, Orbán said. “They could have done it without losing face,” he added.
“We have given an opportunity to the left wing to move from a pro-war position to a pro-peace position and join the side where national interests lie,” Orbán said. “However, I could not see any sign of that,” he added.
“We will see how they vote on Friday,” Orbán said.
Meanwhile, he said “there have been a few countries right from the start, including the Americans, that knew exactly what they were doing” and they “joined this war after assessing their own interests bravely and proudly.” “But there were also some who were drifting along in this conflict,” he added. There are several countries today that originally “did not want to be where they are now,” Orbán said.
“We expect two things from the European Union … first is permanent peace,” Orbán said. The EU should serve peace but it has turned into a pro-war institution, he said.
“The second thing we expect from the EU is to preserve the state of welfare we have achieved,” Orbán said. Yet, the war and the sanctions are destroying the European economy, he added.
“In addition to some countries slipping into war against their will, what’s happening is people starting to question the reason for the EU’s existence because it has given up the two goals that justify its operation,” Orbán said.
“There are increasing signs from member states that the pro-war positions got morally and financially exhausted and everybody feels that if common trust in Europe weakens, it will have much further-reaching consequences than the war,” he added.
Orbán said it was a fatal mistake to underestimate a country’s adaptability and Russians are adapting to the situation created by European sanctions.
The Hungarian government’s target is to get inflation down to a single digit by the end of this year. Retailers and food chains are already competing with each other on who can offer lower prices on various products, he added.
The government will remove the current price caps simultaneously with a decrease in the inflation of food prices, he said. The caps have helped reduce inflation but they were an “artificial intervention” in the operation of the market, and had “side effects”, he added.
“That is why it is good if the caps disappear from the system and the market returns to its regular operations,” he said. As long as inflation is high, the caps cannot be removed, he added.
Orbán suggested that similarly to the food price caps, the caps applying to bank loans could also be removed. Concerning bank loans, he added that “we introduced all kinds of protective mechanisms but those could even cause problems in normal times”.
The prime minister added, however, that the caps on household utility prices would be maintained.
“When inflation drops under a certain level, measures introduced to rein in high inflation could be removed in a timely manner,” Orbán said.