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Viktor Orbán: “In the decisions taken in Brussels, I more often perceive American interests than European interests”

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Hungary – In an interview with the Swiss magazine Weltwoche published on 1 March, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán spoke about the war in Ukraine, the ways to achieve peace, his own meetings with Vladimir Putin, and Europe’s dramatic weakness.

Asked how Hungary is dealing with the war in Ukraine, Orbán answered bluntly: “It is the EU sanctions against Russia that hit us the hardest. They have driven up the price of oil and gas.

He then specified the difficulties Hungary has had to face: “For Ukrainians, we are the first safe country. (…) More than one and a half million Ukrainians have entered Hungary since February 2022. This is not much of a problem for us, as a large proportion of them continue their journey. 

But the war weighs on our psyche, on our soul.

Ukraine is a neighbouring country where Hungarians also live. They are enlisted as soldiers and die by the hundreds on the front. This war is not far from us, it is part of our life. It darkens our mood. That is why 

in Hungary everyone wants peace. (…) They want to push us to war and they do not skimp on the means. So far, we have been able to resist.

Talking about the root causes of the present war, Orbán explained: “[In 2014], it was said that this conflict should be resolved by Europe.

Today, Europe has withdrawn from the discussion. In the decisions taken in Brussels, I more often perceive American interests than European interests.

In a war on Europe’s borders, it is now the Americans who have the last word.

For the Hungarian PM, Europe’s weakness is due to the EU: “The EU wants an ‘ever closer union’. Instead of agreeing on our goal, we discuss the path to follow. It is the reason why Europe is sick.

And about the Russian–Ukrainian war, which, according to him, “no one can win”, Viktor Orbán went on to say: “I see a war with unclear objectives. (…) We don’t know what would satisfy the Russians. (…) And what are Europe’s war aims? We hear the most dangerous things, up to the demand for a regime change in Russia.

A war in which the parties do not define their objective is the greatest danger.

Finally, Orbán outlined a vision of what he believes European security should look like in the future: “Russia is always dangerous. And Russia can only be led by a tsar. (…)

It doesn’t matter if we like it or not. We have to find a way to coexist with a large and dangerous force like Russia in our neighbourhood.

(…) The Russians are a people of soldiers. (…) A people of soldiers never respects a weak country. (…) We must be able to defend ourselves. We, that is Europe.

A European ‘NATO’ would be the solution. That’s what I proposed back in 2012.