Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: PMO

Orbán: Government strong enough to keep country away from war

Hungary is "being dragged into war" but its leadership is strong enough to keep the country away from the conflict, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview with the Swiss daily Weltwoche. Hungary was hit hard by the sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union, Orbán said in the interview published on Thursday. The sanctions have driven up the price of oil and gas, and the cost of supplying the growing energy needs of Hungary's industry has risen from 7 billion euros in 2021 to 17 billion in 2022, he said.
2. March 2023 17:06

“We are under constant pressure. They want to drag us into the war with every possible means. So far, we have managed to resist… Hungary’s political leadership is strong enough to keep our homeland away from the war,” he said.

“The decisions made in Brussels [regarding Ukraine] mirror American interests more often than European ones,” Orbán said.

This war “cannot be won”, Orbán said. “Ukraine is facing a nuclear power with 140 million inhabitants. Russia is facing the entire NATO… this is a stalemate, which could easily devolve into world war,” he said.

Orbán quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as saying at their last meeting two weeks before the war started that “he had no problem with Hungary’s NATO membership, only with that of Ukraine and Georgia… Putin told me his problem was with the American missile bases in Poland and Romania, and a possible NATO expansion in Ukraine and Georgia to station weapons there.” “The Americans also withdrew from important disarmament agreements,” Orbán added.

“I understand what Putin said. I do not accept what he did,” Orbán said.

Orbán said European political norms did not work in Russia, and Europe had to find a way to live together with a “large, dangerous power in our neighbourhood.”

On the possibity of Russia losing the war, Orbán said: “Russia is a nuclear power. It would be a geopolitical shock, a global, potentially disastrous earthquake, much worse than the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. The fact that the West takes that scenario so lightly shows a frightening blindness towards the risks inherent in our policies,” he said.

Europe should be able to defend itself, Orbán said. “The solution would be a European NATO,” he said.

While the West is lacking the will to broker peace, China, India, the Arab countries, Turkey and Brazil want just that, Orbán said. “The West has lost its ability to unite the world behind a cause.”

Hungary is “showing an alternative, should our friends and allies decide to give up their pro-war stance,” he said.

ON US politics, Orbán insisted the war could have been avoided had former President Donald Trump remained in power, who is “a hope for peace… who could probably broker peace within weeks.” The Democrat leadership does not recognise Hungary as “a successful country and the protector of the defences on the edge of the continent. So we are looking forward to our Republican friends gaining power again.”

Orbán said the “global realignment preached by the apostles of the Davos World Economic Forum” was very dangerous for Hungary, “an export-oriented country with important cultural and economic ties with the East.”

On another topic, the prime minister said uncontrolled illegal migration brought declining public security and terrorism in the short term. “In the mid-term, it would bring economic loss, and in the long term, a situation where [citizens] could no longer recognise their own country and even lose their homeland,” he said.

Regarding the future of the EU, Orbán said reorganisation was possible; “the knowledge is there but the will is lacking.” All competencies approppriated by the EU without the consent of member states should be given back, he said.

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