Big stakes are at stake, but we got out of the night-long discussions in Brussels without much trouble, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán reported on Kossuth Radio’s Sunday morning program about the two-day NATO and EU summit. The prime minister added that NATO had essentially copied Hungary’s position, meaning that it was sending neither soldiers nor weapons to Ukraine, and that the alliance had made it clear that it did not want to be involved in the war in any way.
The Prime Minister reminded that NATO does not have its own army, all member states offer contingents in case of conflict, and it is up to each nation state to decide whether to send troops and weapons if necessary. Hungary does not want to take part in the crisis in Ukraine with either a soldier or a weapon, he said. Opinions on this issue are diverse within the alliance, and in the end, leaders agreed that everyone would make their own choices.
Regarding the Polish proposal, which called for a peace mission to be sent to Ukraine, he said that the problem with him was that there was no peace, so there was nothing to maintain. As long as there is a war, it could only be a peacekeeping force, but that would mean that we are involved in the fight.
The Hungarian position also opposes the imposition of an airspace lock in Ukraine, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has long been urging. The airspace closure means that there should be an air war in practice, but that would be a tragic decision, Viktor Orbán pointed out.
The stake is whether there will be gas
Regarding the energy sanctions planned for the war, the prime minister said: a sanctions list can only be adopted if all participants agree on its contents. There are proposals that run counter to Hungary’s interests, such as gas and oil imports, which also affect the Germans and the Austrians. Contrary to what the Ukrainians say, whether there is gas or not, because they come through pipes, there is no such thing as being a little more expensive, the prime minister said. He noted that it is not a question of whether we are willing to buy gas more expensive, but whether there will be gas at all.
Hungary’s refineries were developed for Russian-type oil, and it would take years of work to switch to a different type of oil, Viktor Orbán explained. According to him, the question is whether the Hungarian economy will stop, because if there is no oil and gas, it would. The Ukrainians are asking for the Hungarian economy to come to a complete halt, but they cannot ask us to ruin ourselves, the prime minister said.
Zelensky addressed everyone at the EU summit
At the EU summit, President Zelensky addressed anyone he thought was not committed enough to the cause of the Ukrainians, Viktor Orban recalled by name in his speech. The prime minister called the behavior of the Ukrainian head of state unusual, but he understands that it is in Ukraine’s interest to involve as many countries as possible in the war. We do not want to take part in the war, he stressed.
We are not arguing with the Ukrainian president, but with the left, the prime minister said. According to him, we need to look at how we can help the Ukrainians so that the Hungarians are not disadvantaged.
We do not have to compare ourselves to others, we have been representing the position of the Hungarians for 1100 years. We will give the Ukrainians everything we know. We are not alone, other countries share this view. We need to make it clear that we are Hungarians and that we represent the Hungarian position. Hungarian politics is not Ukrainian or Russian friendly, but Hungarian friendly. We know how to represent the Hungarian position
Viktor Orbán explained. The prime minister understands Zelensky, but he considers it very important that they understand our composure, which is what he calls strategic calm.
As Ferenc Deák said, sometimes the vest has to be re-buttoned and is now re-buttoned in Europe, the Prime Minister declared. He recalled that even before the war, the price of energy was high, and it was a question of whether Brussels was on the right track if it wanted to curb Russian energy imports.
(Cover image: Viktor Orbán on Kossuth Radio on January 28, 2022. Photo: Zoltán Fischer / MTI / MTVA)