Peace and security are at stake in the elections
27. 03. 2022.
Due to the war in Ukraine, the issues of peace and security are also at stake in the elections, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Kossuth Radio’s programme ‘Sunday Paper’. He highlighted that only Fidesz is able to guarantee peace in Hungary and the security of the Hungarian people.

He added that the election campaign now has an added international dimension which makes it all the more exciting at the same time.

In his view, there are some who find it difficult to cope with this development, while others believe that this situation offers an opportunity “to finally talk about very important issues sincerely and profoundly”.

“I belong to the latter,” he said, adding that rather than dampening the campaign, he is trying to involve, to mobilise as many people as possible, to shake hands with people and to talk to them about these difficult questions frankly.

“At the end of the day, next Sunday we will decide the fate of Hungary for minimum four years,” he observed.

According to Mr Orbán, the child protection referendum to be held simultaneously with the parliamentary elections will have consequences and significance for Europe. Hungary has a clear and specific voice on the international scene.

“In this whole Western gender madness, Hungary is an island of calm” where “we continue to adopt the traditional approach to family,” meaning that “the mother is a woman, the father is a man, and our children should be left well alone”.

NATO copied the Hungarian position verbatim, the Prime Minister said, talking about last week’s talks about the war in Ukraine.

The Prime Minister said the organisation will not send soldiers to Ukraine, and neither will it supply weapons. At the same time, it will not stop the individual Member States from doing so. As on this issue positions vary – there are some countries that want to – the debate was concluded with the decision that everyone should do what they see fit, but “on behalf of us all” NATO will not engage in any such operations, the Prime Minister stated.

Regarding the proposal for a Polish peacekeeping mission, he said the problem with that is that there is no peace, and a peacekeeping mission can only be sent to a place where there is a ceasefire. At present, at best forces attempting to create peace could be deployed, but this would mean involvement in the fights.

In relation to the request for the imposition of a no-fly zone, the Prime Minister said that would amount to an aerial war that must be avoided. Whoever imposes a no-fly zone pledges to ground – in other words, to shoot down – fighter aircraft, but with this they make themselves a party to the war.

He further highlighted that if Hungary surrendered the oil and gas coming from Russia, the economy would come to a complete halt. Several Member States in the European Union do not agree with sanctions on the procurement of oil and gas. Austria and Germany are in a situation similar to that of Hungary, and so their position coincides with Hungary’s position, he said.

The question is not whether Hungary would buy these energy carriers more expensively, but whether they would come at all. “They come via pipelines, meaning that gas either comes or it doesn’t,” he said.

Hungary procures 60 per cent of oil and 85 per cent of gas from Russia. The country’s refineries were set up for this type of oil, and it would take several years to switch over to a different product, he laid down. This would mean that the economy would forfeit years of growth and would fall back to the level of 8 to 10 years ago.

The country is doing everything it can, Mr Orbán stressed, “but we can’t be expected to destroy ourselves for their sake,” he said.

Mr Orbán also mentioned that during the talks Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed not only him in person; he attacked everyone who is, in his opinion, not committed enough to the Ukrainian cause.

His harsh speech is not extraordinary, what he says is understandable. The Ukrainian interest is to involve as many countries in the war as possible, he said. “Therefore, the top priority is to make it clear that we don’t want to take part in the war,” he stressed, adding that “we owe moral responsibility not for Ukraine, but for our own people”.

Mr Orbán described the Hungarian position as morally correct. The Prime Minister stressed that Hungary is giving the Ukrainians all conceivable assistance, but cannot grant any demands that could destroy the nation’s community.

He added that on this issue the government has a dispute not with the Ukrainian President, but with the Hungarian Left, namely, about whose criteria should be enforced. The Prime Minister pointed out: “We have been on the side of the Hungarians for 1,100 years”.

He criticised the alternatives suggested by DK President Ferenc Gyurcsány that either we morally vilify ourselves or sacrifice our interests for the Ukrainian interest. The Prime Minister stated that the Hungarian policy on this matter is not pro-Ukrainian or pro-Russian, but pro-Hungarian, a policy that rests on national foundations.

The Prime Minister added that the great powers have a vested interest in ensuring that the countries cooperating with them stand not on a national, but on an imperial or supranational basis, surrendering their own interests.

“We’ve seen that before, we know how to represent the Hungarian interests,” Mr Orbán said.

Quoting the Hungarian statesman Ferenc Deák, the Prime Minister highlighted that at present “we’re in the phase of the rebuttoning of the European waistcoat”. Beyond the European security situation, the war has also changed the European economic situation.

He said everything must now be recalculated. Therefore, at the EU summit held this week, in addition to the war, another “big and important issue” was the question of energy which is connected to the war, but energy prices were “sky-high” in Europe already before the war. Therefore, the question is whether Brussels bureaucrats are pursuing a good energy policy.

He added that the approaches of the Member States are very different, and so at the meeting, a variety of proposals were tabled.

In connection with the rise in energy prices, Mr Orbán laid down that “the policy of artificial Brussels price rises” must be suspended because until the impacts of the war pass, families cannot be exposed to energy prices being increased three- to four-fold. We should stop this process now, we should suspend it, Brussels should stop raising energy prices, and then all of a sudden the price of energy will be affordable, or at least bearable, he argued.

He stressed that this Hungarian proposal makes people in Brussels “vomit blood,” and so for the time being, he is only able to raise this issue very “modestly, cautiously, guardedly”. But, he continued, he is convinced that in a month or two “Brussels bureaucrats” will have no choice, they will have to realise that the policy of artificial price rises must be abandoned.

He said the prices of energy had already started rising before, the war had “only aggravated the situation,” but in actual fact, energy prices are rising in Europe because the EU is raising them. The European Commission argues that the climate must be protected by forcing people to use as little energy as possible, and therefore, energy prices are being increased every year centrally, based on a pre-announced mechanism.

He also said among the causes of rising inflation, energy price rises account for minimum 50 per cent. Meaning that if the Brussels bureaucrats stopped artificially increasing the price of energy, that would serve as a means to curb the pace of price rises, he added.

Regarding the issue of a possible shortage of food that might arise due to the Ukraine-Russia war, he drew attention to the fact that on this issue “the alarm bells were indeed sounded” under the leadership of the President of France, and politicians spoke about the possible development of food shortages in several parts of the world, including in Europe “in an unusually harsh and tough tone”.

He added that Ukraine and Russia are major grain exporters, accounting for a considerable percentage of the world’s grain trade, and mostly supply products to places, including the African region, where grains cannot be grown or not in sufficient quantities. He pointed out that a shortage of grain could destabilise not only countries, but entire large regions, even continents, and as due to the Russia-Ukraine war these supplies could be lost, problems could emerge in places from which migrants are coming to Europe in the millions. He recalled that the Arab Spring was one of the causes of the big migration wave, and that in turn was caused by a shortage of grain.

He highlighted that at the current level of technology, Hungary is able to supply 17 million people with food, but “if we did our jobs better,” this number could be as high as 20 million.

He said if prices spiral out of control, all of a sudden, buyers could appear offering such high prices for Hungarian products that could quite simply “suck food stocks out of Hungary”.

In his view, this is why they were compelled to introduce the disputed decision – which the EU disapproves of – which lays down that the exportation of grains from Hungary is subject to prior reporting, and if required by the country’s supply security, the Hungarian state has a pre-emptive right. “Meaning that we don’t take anything away from anybody, we’re not communists, but defend our national interests, and if Hungary needs a given contracted quantity of grain, we will step in and will buy it at that price,” he pointed out.

He said this is contrary to or barely passes the regulations that currently exist in the European Union, but he believes that sooner or later these regulations will be changed because every country will need to guarantee their own citizens’ food supply security.