Orban wants “no Cold War” against Russia
Budapest, February 20 (MTI) – “I don’t want to live in a Europe waging another Cold War against Russia,” Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in an interview published by Russian daily Kommersant on Friday.
In his interview, the prime minister praised the unity of the European Union, but said that some of its members thought it was necessary to make a clear choice between that unity and ties with Russia. Hungary, however, is working to “seek ways to settle ties between the EU and Russia”, he said.
Europe should not reject “fantastic opportunities” of coupling Russia’s energy and economic potentials with European technology, the prime minister insisted.
Hungary suffers from both European sanctions against Russia and also from Russia’s counter-measures, and the Hungarian government “strives to at least save political ties,” Orban said.
Answering a question, Orban said that the latest Minsk agreement concerning the Ukraine crisis could be used to rebuild ties between the EU and Russia. As a first step, peace should be achieved, with the “closest possible” economic cooperation to follow, he added.
Concerning new NATO command centres to be built in eastern Europe, Orban said “no special measures are needed in Hungary’s security policy”. Russia is “no threat” to Hungary, which, as a NATO member, “has always been and will remain a faithful ally of that alliance”. “NATO is a voluntary association of free countries, and within that framework we will not waive our right to pass our own decisions”.
On another subject, Orban said that Hungary monitors the situation in Ukraine’s Transcarpathia, and will take international action should the local Hungarian community suffer from any infringements of their rights. He added, however, that no such development has been reported as yet.
Referring to his recent talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Orban said it had been right not to sign a long-term agreement on gas supplies. He suggested that Hungary should wait one or two years till the markets “calm down” and conditions are clear for a long-term accord.
On the subject of the aborted South Stream gas pipeline, Orban said that “still, it should have been built”. He said that Russia would grant its support to an alternative line through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary, but added that the European Union’s approval should be first obtained for the scheme.