Hungary can be an icebreaker between Russia and the West
04. 02. 2022.
Hungary can act as an icebreaker between Russia and the West, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday on Kossuth Radio’s programme ‘Good morning, Hungary’. The Prime Minister also said they will be able to maintain the reduction of household utility bills because it has an economic basis: the long-term Russian gas supply agreement.

Regarding his Tuesday visit to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister said while Hungary is a member of NATO and the European Union, it attempts to establish good relations with Russia, and in this regard the Hungarian model is completely different from those of most EU countries.

All this works well when “things freeze up,” he said, meaning in a conflict situation similar to the present one. This is why he described his visit as a peace mission.

He pointed out that shortly after his meeting with Mr Putin, the German Chancellor and the French President, too, will pay a visit to Moscow.

He said Hungary wants peace, and to reduce tensions, but this requires talks. “We will have many more long talks with the Russians, and Hungary for its part has taken the first step in this process,” he said.

He observed that during the five-hour-long talks, he made nine proposals, of which they managed to come to an agreement on eight.

The Prime Minister said “it has taken us a lot of hard work to establish good relations with Russia”. “With the Soviet Union we had bad relations,” but that era ended, and now we are making every effort “to establish a different set of relations with the new Russia,” he pointed out.

He said Hungary has prestige, it has policies of its own, “Hungarian interests are present in the world”. This is especially so in the economy, everyone wants to bring investments, money and factories to Hungary, he stated.

Mr Orbán stressed that Hungary is making good progress towards becoming the first country in Europe by 2030 which generates maximum 10 per cent of the quantity of energy the country needs from fossil sources.

The Prime Minister stated that Hungary is already a climate champion, we are at the top of the table in the reduction of emissions, and in the future the Paks II project and the solar power plant developments that are making good progress also at present will help us to achieve independence in our energy supply.

Until then, however, our energy system can only be maintained with Russian gas, he stressed, adding that the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade agreed with Russia on the supply of 4.5 billion cubic metres of gas annually for fifteen years which Hungary would like to increase by another 1 billion cubic metres. They have almost reached an agreement on this, however, further talks are necessary, he added.

He took the view that Western Europe has fallen victim to the fact that “as they don’t have a long-term agreement with the Russians, they’re unable to buy enough gas and their stocks are now running low”. However, Hungary is guaranteed to receive gas, and so people can continue to rely on the reduction of household utility bills, he explained. He added that they are able to maintain the reduction of household utility bills because it has its economic basis in the long-term Russian gas supply.

The Prime Minister took the view that there will be substantial demand world-wide for the Sputnik and Sputnik Light vaccines; also at present, demand exceeds the Russian manufacturing capacity, and so they are looking for production facilities. If the Russians need such help, we will be able to manufacture Sputnik together, “we will be able to continue to offer Hungarians the possibility of choosing from among many different kinds of vaccines,” he said.

Mr Orbán also said the EU would like to see the European production capacities that would, in the event of a crisis similar to the present one, be able to meet all needs with production within Europe. Therefore, they are now looking for the factories that could be involved, “we enrolled in this project, and offered them the possibility of involving our Debrecen facility in this production network”.

He said in Brussels there is a segment of bureaucrats which thinks in terms of a European empire. “We Hungarians have always had a vested interest in Europe not organising itself as an empire” because when they do, Hungarian independence is always curbed. We have an interest in a Europe of nations, he pointed out.

He added that Brussels, however, shares a different view, they are building a European empire, and to this end they need to take as many powers away from the Member States as possible. For instance, there is now a financial debate about whether money will come to Hungary from the recovery facility, and all of a sudden, the European Commission says “of course, it will, but you should first amend your family law and your education legislation,” he said, observing that on this issue “a difficult judgement awaits us”.

The Prime Minister said, in addition to Hungary and Poland, this practice violates the interests of other Member States as well, and therefore, we must make every effort “to keep Europe a free Europe” and must state that “we won’t allow the ongoing curtailment of our national rights”.

He said “they’re now confronting us with formidable forces,” they would like Hungary to have a servile government, one that the Left keep talking about and would be the jackpot for Brussels. However, “we don’t want to win a jackpot for the Brusselites, we want to win it for the Hungarian people, and in order to do that we need a national and Christian government that stands up for our national interests also in the future,” he pointed out.

According to Mr Orbán, “in Hungary every year everyone is able to take at least one step forward,” and in the present times, this is a great achievement. Everyone can see how the country is growing, “we are achieving things that couldn’t even be discussed earlier,” he said.

He took the view that Hungary is going forward, and “countries suffering from corruption go backward, not forward”. Hungary had the most corrupt government in its history during the Gyurcsány-Bajnai era, he added.

The Prime Minister said “we have the vaccine in our hands, and the virus is becoming ever weaker,” and this on the whole makes the situation more bearable for the people. This is why they were able to extend the validity of the immunity certificate for those with two shots of the vaccine.