A decision between war and peace is at stake in the April 3 general election, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in an interview to Saturday’s edition of the daily Magyar Nemzet, voicing his opinion that the opposition had “risked it all” by joining forces and that they would “lose everything” on Sunday.
“If we want peace then it’s best to choose the nationally minded side,” the prime minister said, adding that “those who want war should support the left.” Assessing the campaign, Orbán said it was surprising that despite the adverse circumstances “Hungary is in a sober state of mind” and Hungarians “have a crystal clear understanding of even the most complex international contexts”. The people understand that this election is a decision between war and peace and between being dragged into the war in Ukraine and staying out of it, Orbán said, adding that Hungarians at the same time were helping Ukrainians in any way they could.
He criticised as “absurd” the remark by opposition prime ministerial candidate Péter Márki-Zay that Ukraine was “fighting our war”, arguing that the war was being fought between two Slavic peoples.
Although this is not Hungary’s war “it still concerns us” because it is being fought in Hungary’s neighbouring country, Orbán said, adding that it was not just missiles that could accidentally be fired close to the Hungarian border but other military actions could be carried out nearby as well. If Hungary were to send weapons to Ukraine “we could expect the destructive strikes on the shipments at any second.”
“We are close to the warring parties, we know them and we can’t be tricked into doing something,” Orban said. He said Hungary still remembered how Ukraine had treated ethnic Hungarians in Transcarpathia and knew that the “Western illusions” that presented Ukraine as a model democracy “comes from not being familiar with the territory”.
Meanwhile, he said there was no doubt that “the responsibility for the war lies with the Russians” regardless of how they reached the decision to start it.
At the same time, Hungary is helping Ukraine “but not because it’s fighting our war, but rather because Russia has launched a war on it and its existence has come under threat”, Orban said. He said there were certain Western countries that wanted to reshape the world that would emerge after the war so that the East and the West would be completely divided, adding that this would be bad for Hungarians and all of central Europe.
Orbán condemned the opposition’s remarks on the war,
insisting that the opposition and Ukraine’s leadership had an agreement in place that Hungary would start sending weapons to the country and cut off Russian oil and gas supplies to Hungary if they won Sunday’s election. He said this would happen “with the support of not just a few Western countries”.
Asked if he had any concerns that his position of keeping a distance from the war would put him in the minority or leave him on his own in Europe, Orbán said the
government’s stance was the majority position.
He argued that NATO also wanted to stay out of the war and opposed getting involved in any armed conflict. Orban added that though the situation in the European Union was more complicated, the powerful member states like Germany and France shared a similar view to Hungary.
Put to him that a crack was forming on the alliance of the Visegrad Group countries, Orbán said the V4 were always challenged by the fact that they had differring views on the policy concerning the East. But Orbán noted that the V4 was not a geopolitical organisation but rather a grouping aimed at representing central European interests within the EU. The V4 will continue to fulfil that role, the prime minister said, emphasising that “there are no differences of opinion in this area”.
Concerning the economy and inflation Orbán said that because “the sky is cloudy” Hungarians should vote for Fidesz and the Christian Democrats, arguing that the country needed a government that was experienced, calm and always stood up for national interests.
Orbán called it alarming that inflation in Germany had exceeded 7 percent and could rise to over 10 percent. The other big problem, he said, was that the different crises that are inflation, the war, the high debt levels of the southern EU member states and Brussels’s energy policy were now coming together into a larger crisis. He said Brussels needed to be talked into suspending the increase of the prices of traditional energy sources.
Orbán said Hungary was protecting families and the EU needed an anti-inflation policy focused on lowering energy prices. “We need to pay attention to how Germany tackles its own inflation levels because if they fail then it’ll be hard for us as well,” he said.
Concerning EU funds, Orbán said that contrary to claims by the opposition, Hungary was still receiving money from the bloc, adding that the debate on the post-pandemic recovery fund would quickly be settled if Fidesz won the election. Meanwhile, Orbán said the referendum on child protection held in parallel with the election could help stop the “political and ideological push that is hidden behind the word ‘gender'”.
He said the opposition had “risked everything and will lose everything on Sunday”. He said the opposition parties had chosen “moral self-abandonment” by combining incompatible election programmes and values. “There is no greater threat to a political community than the loss of its identity,” Orban said. “Only victory could make this political gamble acceptable, but that will be ours if we’ll all be there on Sunday.”