The European Union is a “bad parody” of the former Soviet Union and, despite attempts by Brussels to control Hungary, its government will continue to run the country as it sees fit, Viktor Orbán said on Monday.
Speaking at an event to commemorate the 1956 Hungarian Uprising, which saw Nikita Khrushchev’s Soviet Union crush an attempted revolt by the Hungarian people, the Hungarian prime minister contrasted his country’s EU membership to Soviet occupation but claimed that Brussels’ oppression pales in comparison to the bloody communist regime.
“Today, things pop up that remind us of the Soviet times. Yes, it happens that history repeats itself,” Orbán told attendees of the event in the city of Veszprém.
“Fortunately, what once was a tragedy is now a comedy at best. Fortunately, Brussels is not Moscow. Moscow was a tragedy. Brussels is just a bad contemporary parody,” he quipped.
The Fidesz leader claimed that his government, despite being hampered by the liberal democracy the European Union is seeking to impose on Hungary, will continue to defy the liberal mainstream in the de facto EU capital.
“We had to dance to the tune that Moscow whistled,” Orbán said of Hungary’s days under Soviet control. “Brussels whistles too, but we dance as we want to, and if we don’t want to, then we don’t dance,” he told the crowd.
A recent example of Hungary’s deviation from mainstream EU policy was Viktor Orbán’s rendezvous with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing in which he risked the wrath of Europe’s liberal elite by shaking hands with the Russian leader — the first EU leader to do so since Moscow invaded eastern Ukraine in February last year.
The Hungarian prime minister insisted the meeting was designed to facilitate peace in Hungary’s backyard, a longstanding objective of the Hungarian government and in contrast to the European Union’s policy of providing continuous military assistance to Kyiv and at Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s request.
Brussels has remained at odds with Budapest over how best to respond to the ongoing conflict, with Viktor Orbán’s administration refusing to provide military support. Hungary is also reportedly gearing up to purchase greater quantities of Russian energy to ensure Hungarian homes remain warm this winter as Orbán unapologetically takes a more nationalist approach to the war and looks after his own.
“We will not allow sanctions that would further increase Hungarian inflation,” Orbán has said previously.
Hungary also has Brussels over a barrel to an extent regarding the European Union’s desire to amend its multi-annual budget framework to free up more funds for Kyiv, a move that currently requires unanimity among EU member states.
Budapest remains the sole dissenter to the plan and is understood to be using its leverage to force the European Union to release funding owed to Hungary that has been withheld by Brussels due to ongoing concerns over democratic backsliding in the country, allegations the Hungarian government vehemently refutes.
Speaking on Monday, the European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, admitted that the bloc has not yet reached a unanimous decision on how to proceed on issuing further funding to Ukraine.
“We have not yet managed to solve the problem of the eighth and last tranche of the European Peace Fund. We are still looking for a solution to this issue, but one way or another we will find it,” he told journalists.