Hungary should be among the five best and most competitive countries of the European Union by 2030, a country in which “it is best to live and work”, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told a plenary session of the Hungarian Diaspora Council in Budapest on Thursday.
In the shorter term, Orbán said, the “the culture of patriotism should be promoted and the culture of self-hatred suppressed”. He said that by 2022, the country’s competitiveness should be “tangibly improved”, new “demographic incentives” should be launched and an independent Hungarian army developed. In terms of the military, Hungary “lags behind” other countries in the region, he said, insisting that “a country cannot be strong without an army capable of protecting it”.
By 2030, the country should also reverse negative demographic tendencies and diversify its energy supplies,
the prime minister said. He insisted that Hungary should gradually remove its unilateral dependence on Russian energy. Hungary needs to build its internal capabilities and diversify access to foreign energy sources, Orbán said. From that aspect, the upgrade of the Paks nuclear plant is key for Hungary’s sovereignty, he added.
Concerning Hungary’s bilateral ties, Orbán said that the country had developed “relations based on trust” with Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Serbia in recent years. He insisted that it was “obvious that cooperation is always more profitable than animosity”, adding that the government’s goal was to further develop that cooperation.
On the subject of Ukraine, however, Orbán said it was a country “without a creditable timeline for accession to either NATO or the EU”. He added that he saw no chance of an agreement between his government and Ukraine’s incumbent leadership. Noting Ukraine’s upcoming presidential election, he said that “it will become clear whether the current anti-Hungarian tendency continues or the new presidential administration decides to cooperate with Hungary.” Hungary’s government, he said, is in contact with all potential winners and talks are under way to ensure that “a situtation which is bad both for Hungary and Ukraine ends and Ukraine returns to the path of friendship and a strategic alliance with Hungary.”
“This is the only path for Ukraine to join NATO and the EU,” he added.
“We have rights and opportunities. We expect Ukraine … not to persecute those Hungarians that are citizens of Ukraine,” Orbán said.
“Ukraine should make use of the opportunity provided by Hungary to contribute to the development of Transcarpathia (Kárpátalja) and areas beyond as well as Ukraine’s stabilisation and development.”
Meanwhile, the prime minister said he expected that Europe’s institutions after next year’s European Parliamentary elections would be “more strongly associated with the continent’s traditional values and roots”. After the elections in May, Europe’s politics are likely to become “more nationalist, right-wing, and more Christian,” Orbán said. He said that hopefully the European Commission, “which now considers itself a political player, will resume its role as guardian of the [EU] basic treaty”.
Regarding Hungary-US ties, Orbán said the US administration “does not consider its role is to decide what’s in the Hungarian constitution”.
“Not only are military and economic ties in order but political relations are too,” he said.
Concerning Turkey, Egypt, and Israel, Orbán said that stability in those countries was in Hungary’s key interest in light of illegal migration. Should those countries become unstable, migration pressure on Europe could grow “exponentially”, he said.
Regarding Asia, Orbán said his government’s efforts to develop relations with China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia were motivated “purely by business, without any political preconditions”.