Only peace can bring an end to wartime inflation
01. 07. 2022.
Hungary must stand for peace, wartime inflation cannot be stopped any other way, only by putting an end to the war, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday on Kossuth Radio’s programme ‘Good morning, Hungary’ where he also announced that the government would speed up the development of the armed forces.

Mr Orbán highlighted that Hungary restricted the prices of certain products by regulatory means; however, with this wartime inflation can only be curbed temporarily and partially.

Therefore, Hungary and all European countries have a vested interest in the war coming to an end within the shortest possible time. Rather than imposing sanctions, we must achieve a ceasefire, and the parties must reach an agreement on the framework of the peace talks. Everyone would benefit from peace, the Prime Minister stressed, taking the view, however, that no one other than Hungary stands for this position, or “strikes this tone”.

He also pointed out that there is a war situation, we are not attacking, but defending; this is not a time for “taking a step or two forward” in developments or even wage issues. Today, success means not sliding back, if “we are able to gain a foothold” and not allow the war situation to push us back in terms of our level of economic advancement and living standards, the Prime Minister said, adding that the government pledged to protect full employment, the system of family grants, the reduction of household energy bills and pensions.

“If we’re able to protect these, already then Hungary will have achieved a very significant result. Already now, most countries aren’t capable of that, and neither will they be in the future,” he laid down.

Mr Orbán stressed that Hungary must increase the speed of the development of its armed forces two- or three-fold, we must complete a very swift capability development job. He said NATO has not yet dealt with the scenario “where the Ukrainian front collapses,” despite the fact that “this is a very serious situation” in a neighbouring state, and “there is every chance” that Hungary might find itself closer to the front.

According to Mr Orbán, we must radically enhance Hungary’s defence capabilities “with an effort that might seem superhuman,” “if we want peace, we must significantly increase our military capabilities now”. This is not Hungary’s war, we must be left out of it, he pointed out.

He stressed at the same time that “everyone stands with Ukraine as you normally stand with the victim and root for the victim”. However, sooner or later, we will have to face the existing military realities: on the one side, a Russia of 138 million, and on the other, a Ukraine of 31 million. He pointed out that while America and Britain had thoroughly armed Ukraine and had even trained many of their soldiers, every day Ukraine is losing 100 to 1,000 soldiers.

The Prime Minister also said Hungary is in a more difficult situation than any other state because it is being affected by the war in Ukraine and the flood of migrants all at once. Due to the former, 800,000 refugees have arrived in the country, while this year the number of illegal border crossers has already exceeded 100,000.

He therefore stated: the time has come to organise a new border hunting regime, meaning a border guard agency that consists of border hunting companies. He added that they are planning to build up this capability under the auspices of the Ministry of Interior, as part of which thousands of people will have to be hired. He highlighted that he would be happy if they managed “to keep the border hunters within the boundaries of the culture that characterises the police today”. In his view, in the past 12 years, the police have become an effective agency with a citizen-friendly culture, and so if they managed to solve this issue within the framework of the police, “that would also have a beneficial effect on citizen-police officer and migrant-police officer relations”. He indicated at the same time that should they fail in this attempt, this defence capability will have to be created “in a somewhat harsher form”.

He pointed out that so far soldiers and police officers have been directed to the Southern border. However, now that a war zone is approaching Hungary’s Eastern borders, every single minute that soldiers are not using for preparations, for reinforcing their defence capability is “a luxury we can scarcely afford”. He said soldiers must therefore be redirected from there so that they can take part in the implementation of the accelerated development programme of the Hungarian defence forces. At the same time, police officers are, as a result, in short supply as regards the maintenance of law and order, and additionally, they are performing a demanding job, away from their families.

Mr Orbán also said Ukraine’s EU candidacy will help with the enforcement of the rights of the Hungarians living there.

He highlighted that the candidate status is “an initial step,” which does not mean that actual talks will start; first, Ukraine will be required to meet certain conditions, including EU and Hungarian expectations relating to the minorities living there.

We are in a much better position as regards the enforcement of the rights of the Hungarians living there than had Ukraine not applied for the candidate status, Mr Orbán said in the interview.

He also drew attention to the fact that they had failed to achieve the candidate status for Bosnia; there is continued incomprehension or inadequate knowledge among Western European leaders regarding the enlargement of the EU in the Balkans, despite the fact that the drastically intensifying pressure of migration would supply ample evidence to support the need for admitting these countries.

Ukrainians yes, Bosnians no for the time being, but we will continue the fight together with the Austrians, Slovenians and Croatians to make this happen, Mr Orbán stressed in the radio interview.