Budapest (MTI) – Hungary’s centrist and left-of-centre opposition parties on Tuesday reacted to Vladimir Putin’s visit to Budapest, savaging Hungary’s prime minister for hosting the Russian president.
The Socialists said that Prime Minister Viktor Orban had betrayed the interests of the Hungarian nation. Bertalan Toth, the party’s deputy group leader, told a news conference that the Russian president was using Hungary as a “live prop” to demonstrate that an EU and NATO country accepted him with friendship. He also insisted that Putin had used the meeting to sell gas untapped under the soon-to-expire contract more expensively than world market prices justified. He demanded that every aspect of the two leaders’ two-hour talks should be brought into the open.
Opposition Egyutt said it considered Putin’s visit inexcusable and a cause for concern since it provided Putin with a platform “to parade” in the EU. Zsuzsanna Szelenyi, who sits in parliament as an independent, insisted that Hungary would not benefit from the visit. The EU is keeping Russia in political quarantine because of its involvement in armed aggression in Ukraine, yet Orban has helped Russia crack out of its isolation. For this, Orban bears a huge responsibility, she added.
The opposition Dialogue for Hungary party said Orban was transforming Hungary into an outpost of Russia. Benedek Javor, a party MEP, told a press conference that the agreements announced after the Orban-Putin talks were normally signed by state secretaries, so the question remains: “what was Putin actually doing in Hungary?”
The opposition LMP party said Orban had driven Hungary to the path of complete dependence on Russia. The party’s co-leader Bernadett Szél said Hungary’s reliance on Russian gas had further increased despite already being the most heavily dependent among the Visegrad Group countries.
The Democratic Coalition said that Orban had betrayed Europe, the community of Europe and Hungary. Peter Niedermuller, the party’s deputy leader, told a news conference that the Hungarian government had “cowardly blurred the fact” that in the Russia-Ukraine conflict Russia was the aggressor.