Prime minister Viktor Orbán in Brussels – Photo: PMO

Orbán: Hungary stands on Hungary’s side

Hungary stands on Hungary's side in the Russia-Ukraine war, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said after the EU and NATO summit in Brussels. Orbán told public media that Hungary was helping everyone in trouble but wanted to enforce and protect its own national interests.
26. March 2022 13:22

Hungary must repeatedly stand in support of its national interests at every international forum, he said.

“That’s why it is not indifferent what government Hungary has. Whether it has a government that supports national interests or one that takes a subservient role and swims along the large countries that radiatie authority,” Orbán said.

Commenting on the current situation, he said certain countries take the position that in some way they are also participants in the Russia-Ukraine war. Hungarians’ position is that the Russia-Ukraine war is under way in our neighbourhood and we must not be indifferent to the human suffering and the millions in trouble. At the same time, there are certain Hungarian interests and these can come under threat by a war next to us, he said.

“As a result, we are in a dangerous situation but we stand on Hungary’s side and we look at the situation with a Hungarian head and from a Hungarian perspective,” Orbán said.

There are some countries that would like NATO or the EU to get involved in the conflict to a certain extent and there are other countries, like Hungary, that want to stay out of the war, Orbán said.

The NATO summit has clearly showed that the majority of countries shared the Hungarian position and NATO has also clearly stated that it was not part of the war, does not want to participate in it, it will not send weapons or soldiers and will not introduce a no-fly zone, Orbán said. If there are countries that want to go further and want to do more, it is their own responsibility and NATO cannot prevent them from doing so, Orbán added.

Commenting on the economic sanctions discussed at the EU summit, he said it was an understandable proposal that if they want to help Ukraine and restore peace as soon as possible, they must make it clear to Russia that it is not worth continuing the war. Orbán said this was an agreeable proposal and added that he also considered it most important to restore peace. “We are on the side of peace”, he said. At the same time, he added that peace could not be restored by introducing sanctions that “hurt us even more than the Russians”.

If sanctions are extended to energy, the Hungarian economy will come under intolerable pressure, while the Russians “might hardly notice it”. Hungary has made it clear that extending the sanctions to energy is not a suitable method for making progress towards peace and alternative methods must be found, basically in the form of diplomatic steps, Orbán added.

He said that Hungary must repeatedly stand in support of its own national interests at international events because such proposals resurface again and again.

Whereas Poland and Hungary used to be subjected to criticism, they currently get “utmost praise”, Orbán said.

The burden on Polish and Hungarian people is obvious for everyone to see, with 2.5 million refugees having arrived in Poland and over 500,000 in Hungary, he addded.

He praised the work of volunteers, civil organisations and churches helping refugees, adding that regardless of the disputes Hungary used to have with Ukraine about the ethnic Hungarian minority, when Ukraine is in trouble, Hungary helps.

Orbán said he had urged Brussels to make financial resources available to Hungary as soon as possible and the European Commission’s first response had been to offer the first 300 million euros in a flexible way, available more freely and quickly than previously planned. He added that it was thanks to the volunteers that Hungary was getting such recognition.

Commenting on the Ukrainian president’s dissatisfaction with NATO and the EU, and his personal remarks to Orbán, the prime minister said it must be understood that Volodymyr Zelenskiy would like the whole world to share his pain and go further than helping refugees by appropriating the Ukrainian position and interfering without delay. Ukraine is in a difficult situation, with a war on its territory and millions having to leave the country, he added. “This must be heart-breaking, a very heavy feeling,” Orbán said.

It is completely understandable that Ukrainians are asking for NATO to enter, get into a war in the air and send weapons, Orbán said. At the same time, he said “we are not Ukrainians or Russians, we are Hungarians”.

“In response to the question: whose side is Hungary on, the answer is Hungary stands on Hungary’s side,” Orbán added.

Orbán said that beyond helping all Ukrainians in trouble, “which the president should not forget,” Hungary does not want to get involved in the war because it is against Hungary’s national interests.

Hungary is a member of NATO, a united and strong alliance, Orbán said. “It is very strong indeed. Stronger than Russia,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said.
If Hungary shows it is ready to defend itself by “doing what is necessary” and deploy its armed forces to the border with Ukraine, its allies will also help, he said. “Together, we are stronger than anyone else,” which is the strongest guarantee for security in the world, he said.

NATO member states, Hungary among them, are the safest places in the world today, he said.

At the same time, a war in a neighbouring country warrants “strategic calmness, a cool-blooded and reliable definition of Hungarian interests, and taking steps according to those interests,” he said.

Regarding energy prices, Orbán said prices had already been rising in the months before the war. The war has made that trend worse, which prompted Hungary’s government to cap the price of fuel and some basic foods, to protect its utility price cut scheme.

At the same time, a joint European solution to the issue is also necessary, he said. One of the reasons energy prices are rising is “policies made in Brussels… to intentionally, constantly increase energy prices” as a deterrent for people to use less, “to save the climate”.

Orbán called on “Brussels to suspend its energy policy based on price increase.”

No energy should be “penalised”, should it come from gas, coal or oil, Orbán said. “Today, the question isn’t what’s going to happen to the climate but what’s going to happen to our families”. “That is a question for the battles of the upcoming weeks,” he said.

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