In an interview with the German-language newspaper Budapester Zeitung, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated that while Hungary’s government is complying with the European Commission’s requirements, it must be prepared for the possibility that ‘there will always be more and more demands coming’ from it.
Cooperation is Preferred to Conflict
Orbán asserted that the Hungarian government prefers to cooperate rather than quarrel and that it has no trouble carrying out the 17 corrective actions it has agreed to. Orbán declared: ‘We will grant them all, but I predict that immediately after this there will be an 18th request, then a 19th, and so on. I anticipate that after this there will constantly be more and more requests coming.’
Poland had also cooperated regarding all Commission concerns, but ‘more and more demands were made,’ according to Orbán. He continued, ‘This might be the final purpose in the case of Hungary, too,’ saying that the EU institutions’ actions are clearly ‘about pushing for a change of administration in Poland.’ The prime minister asserted that ‘we fully meet all the technical conditions that have been put out’ and expressed confidence that Hungary will receive access to the funds due at the end of the year. By the year’s conclusion, Orbán predicted, ‘I anticipate we will be able to sign an agreement with the EU. Although I’m unable to guarantee that we will actually get paid, Hungary cannot be financially cornered.’
The Important Relationship with Germany
Orbán referred to Hungarian-German relations as being ‘a world apart’ but added that Germany’s ruling Social Democrats (SPD) were ‘the most anti-Hungarian party in Europe’ in his remarks. The prime minister stated that under such circumstances ‘serious efforts are needed to bridge the divides between the two countries in an increasing number of areas.’ When questioned about the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a German right-wing nationalist party, Orbán responded, ‘Interstate relations are more important than any relationships between parties,’ adding that his party was ’forced to sacrifice relations with the AfD on the altar of the best possible intergovernmental relations. A peculiarity of German democracy is that any action we take in response to the AfD would have an impact on international relations.’
In addition, the prime minister noted that the CDU and the CSU in Bavaria were now left-wing parties from a Hungarian standpoint. Germany has become a multicultural society, according to Orbán, who also noted that Hungarian society was much more pluralistic, freer, and more peaceful than German society. Asserting that in Germany there is only room for one single narrative in public discourse and anyone who deviates from it becomes a non-entity, the prime minister noted that Germany is characterized by a liberal hegemony. He noted that in Hungary, by contrasts, public discourse has a pluralistic structure.
He also added that in Germany and Western Europe double standards are applied that Hungarians simply cannot tolerate. Nevertheless, he remarked, there was no point in increasing the already existing political tension with Germany, since cooperation is far more important than that.
Western Europeans Are Welcome
The PM also predicted that more and more Western Europeans will move to Hungary in the next 10-20 years, as Hungary is now seen as safe, Christian country that is proud of its traditions. He underlined that throughout history, many countries benefitted from immigration from the West, adding that Hungary welcomes those coming from the West looking to settle in the country. ‘Western refugees welcome!’, the PM commented.
Russia-US Talks Need to End War
When asked about the war raging in Ukraine, Mr Orbán said that Europe is supporting Ukraine in a way that is forcing the continent into a spiral of escalation. He opined that if the tone of politics regarding the war will not change, ‘we’ll end up at war ourselves’. He said that the EU’s current actions are basically negating all the rational geopolitical interests of Europe. The prime minister added that the sanctions imposed on Russia were based on moral and emotional considerations and lack a ‘rational core.’
When asked what Europe should do, Orbán responded that while weak statesmen can start wards, strong statesmen are needed to initiate a peace process and end wars. He remarked that unfortunately for Europe, Angela Merkel has left office and the United States also has a much weaker president now than it had before.
He concluded by expressing hope that the German government would eventually fulfil the obligations that go along with its importance in Europe. He said that he also hoped for the re-election of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump.
Talks between Ukraine and Russia, according to Orbán, would not put an end to the conflict; instead, talks between the United States and Russia were required. said, adding that the war would go on ‘as long as peace was in neither party’s unambiguous interest.’
Orbán stressed that his government has made a deliberate choice not to bring up the attacks on the ethnic Hungarian minority in Ukraine after the Russian aggression. However, he nailed down, this doesn’t mean that Hungarian administration ‘suffers from amnesia.’ After the war, he warned, a comprehensive agreement on cooperation between Hungary and Ukraine that also guarantees the rights of the Hungarian minority will be required.
In terms of the EU’s role on the global stage, Orbán stated that ‘we need more EU’ when it comes to security and defence policy. He opined that the European Union needs to do more in military terms for the sake of its own sovereignty. He said that member nations should increase their defence spending so that the EU can fill the vacuum in the geopolitical space that would be created following a US withdrawal.