While many critics have claimed that Hungary is on the “wrong side of history” due to its pro-peace and anti-sanctions policy regarding the war between Russia and Ukraine, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán contends that his government is simply on the side of the Hungarians.
“We are pro-Hungarian,” Orbán told daily Magyar Nemzet in an interview published on Christmas Eve. “We are on the side of the Hungarians in the Russian-Ukrainian war.”
Orbán argues that while it is important for his government that Russia poses no security threat, continued economic relations is essential for not only Hungary, but also for the entire European economy.
“The answer to the question of whether we are on the right or wrong side of history is that we are on the Hungarian side of history. We support and help Ukraine, it is in our interest to preserve a sovereign Ukraine, and it is in our interest that Russia does not pose a security threat to Europe, but it is not in our interest to give up all economic relations with Russia. We are looking at these issues through Hungarian glasses, not through anyone else’s,” Orbán said.
Orbán warns of decades-long war
The prime minister said that 2022 was the most dangerous year since the fall of communism.
“We were threatened with falling into war. Let no one doubt that if the left had won in April, we would have been up to our necks in it. Hungary is the only European country outside the war because the Hungarian people voted overwhelmingly for it in the spring,” he said.
Orbán said there was a risk that the war would last for a long time, even decades. At the same time, “Ukraine can only fight as long as the United States supports it with money and arms,” and if the Americans want peace, there will be peace, he said.
He noted that no one should expect Ukrainians to give up part of their country for the sake of Europe’s peace, energy security and prosperity. Ukraine is a sovereign state.
“We have the power to decide to what extent we support them. Hungary has decided that, since this war is not our war, we will provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine, bearing in mind Hungary’s national interests,” the prime minister stated.
Inflation will be brought down, says Orbán
Rising energy prices have also pushed Hungary towards a dangerous situation. The Hungarian economy imports energy, and before the war, before the sanctions, Hungary was paying €7 billion a year for energy. Energy costs have now ballooned to €17 billion, so this difference of €10 billion, amounting to 400,000 billion Hungarian forints, had to be made up by the government. This huge sum of money is now leaving the Hungarian economy, he said.
The prime minister said that “if a Christmas angel decided to lift the energy sanctions now, energy prices would fall in a flash,” and with them inflation, and Hungary could plan not 1.5 percent growth next year, but even 5 percent.
He said that the cabinet had a clear plan to deal with the economic situation and Inflation will be brought down to single digits by the end of next year.
The prime minister indicated it was unusual that Central Bank Governor György Matolcsy had made sharp criticism of the Hungarian economy. However, it “only means that the central bank governor is in a difficult position.” The law assigns him the task of managing inflation, and now there is a significant monetary deterioration not only in Hungary but in Europe as a whole.
“My situation is not easy, but György Matolcsy’s is even more difficult. And if you choose to behave in an unorthodox way in public, you can understand that,” Orbán said. He said that there would be changes to the home creation subsidies.
Other elements of family support will be maintained and even extended. Young people currently pay no income tax on their earnings until the age of 25. From now on, women who have children can receive this benefit until the age of 30.
‘Sometimes they hang the hangman’
Commenting on the agreement between Hungary and Brussels, the prime minister said “we have taken a step forward” and “we have an agreement that the money that is ours is really ours.” He said that withholding funds was “a weapon, but not a sword, only a knife,” and that “we should not run away from it.”
Speaking about the corruption scandal in the European Parliament (EP), he said, “Sometimes they hang the hangman.”
“The bureaucrats in Brussels feel they are above the law and can do whatever they want. When you are an EU representative on a secret list of Soros George’s supporters, and you get money and all sorts of other support to denounce countries that cross George Soros’ business interests, such as Hungary, in reports based on falsehoods, you are not so far away from suitcases full of cash. This swamp must be drained,” the prime minister said.