Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: PMO

Orbán: There appears no way out of war in Ukraine

There seems to be no solution to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and that leaves European politics "paralysed", Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at the Antalya Diplomatic Forum.
2. March 2024 7:27

“If you think that time is on the Ukrainian and the Western side, and continuing the war can provide military success for the Ukrainians, it’s reasonable to continue. If you think that time is more on the Russian side, and continuing the war would bring more success to the Russians, for the Ukrainians it is better to stop now. I belong to the second camp,” Orbán said.

He said “we are in trouble” because many countries consider the conflict as “our war” and “if the enemy proves to be stronger … you belong to the losers … and it’s very difficult to explain how to behave and how to get out of a situation when you lose a war”.

On another subject, Orbán said he was often referred to as “Putin’s dog” or a “Trojan horse”, but added that “It requires psychotherapy. It’s not a political discussion.”

He added that he was not viewing the war “through the eyeglasses of Ukraine or those of Putin” but from a Hungarian perspective.

“I have to represent the interest of my country and my nation … when something is good for the Hungarians, I will support and when something is bad, I will oppose it,” he said.

Orbán noted the ethnic Hungarian community in Transcarpathia, who have lived there for one thousand years and are now getting conscripted to the Ukrainian army.

“Hungarians are dying in the war in Ukraine,” Orbán said, adding that they belong to the Hungarian nation. Peace in Ukraine would ensure security “to Hungarian lives”, he added.

“That’s one reason, beyond some others, why we are very much committed as Hungarians to peace,” Orbán said.

The prime minister was asked if he saw Hungary’s future in the European Union.

“Of course, if you are Hungarian, you are European,” he said.

“Hungary will always have a special geopolitical place in the European Union,” Orbán said, adding that the country was a member of the Turkic Council “because we are the only nation of eastern origin in Europe, or at least the only one which is proud of it”.

He added, however, that it was a question how the community wanted to shape its future. Currently, Europe is based on a progressive, liberal ideology, he said.

“God is out of political considerations,” Orbán said, adding that the notions of the nation and national pride were considered with suspicion.

“Family values are not respected either, because the family does not exist anymore in Europe,” he said. The prime minister said the difference of opinion between liberals and conservatives was growing, but added that the current majority should accept that there were conflicting positions. Hungary wants to stay a member of the EU, but wants to achieve that the conservatives should gain a majority, Orbán said.

The prime minister said the upcoming EP elections would change the composition of the European Parliament, in which the right wing would have greater weight.

“It’s not a revolution, an overnight revolution or something like that, but a change would start by the election in June. That’s my hope, at least,” he said.

Concerning Sweden’s joining NATO, Orbán said those endeavours had been clear from a geopolitical point of view from the beginning, and expressed Hungary’s support. He added, however, that Sweden could not belong to the same community without respecting Hungary.

Orbán said Sweden had actively supported European charges against Hungary suggesting Hungary’s violating the rule of law, and in connection with Hungary’s rejecting same-sex marriages and uncontrolled migration.

“I said if you would like to join NATO, we have to rebuild the trust and confidence between each other … So please come and do it. And then they came and we did,” Orbán said.

The prime minister confirmed that he would meet in Florida next week former US President Donald Trump whom Orbán said he “respects very much”.

Orbán said he was convinced that if Trump had been in office when the war in Ukraine broke out “there would have been no war now”, adding that there would only be a serious chance for peace if Trump “is able to come back”.

Asked if he would meet President Joe Biden, Orbán said “I’m always at his disposal”, adding however that it was up to the American people to decide on the next US president. Trump’s return, Orbán said, would be more desirable for Hungary and for peace.

Asked about Hungary’s upcoming EP presidency in the second half of this year, the prime minister said its priorities included the EU’s enlargement with the Balkan region and Europe’s competitiveness.

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