PM Orbán: Hungary is not a ‘ferry country’, it's a 'bridge country'

In tonight's interview on Hír TV's "Napi Aktuális" program, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán conversed with Zsolt Bayer, delving into a range of critical issues affecting Hungary and the European Union.

The interview commenced with PM Orbán expressing his shock and sympathy regarding the afternoon shooting in Prague. He conveyed the Hungarian government's condolences to the families of the victims and the injured, highlighting the incident's proximity and impact on Europe.

PM Orbán then touched upon Hungary's stance on Ukraine's EU candidacy, stating, "Our goal was to convince other EU leaders that neither Ukraine is prepared for accession, nor is the EU ready for it." He suggested that instead of membership, a strategic agreement with Ukraine would be more beneficial, offering immediate assistance.

The prime minister recalled the EU's past experience with Turkey, which received candidate status but saw the process stall. He emphasized the need for clear accession criteria, expressing doubts about the EU Commission's assessments.

On Hungary's position regarding Ukraine's EU gesture, PM Orbán said that "26 member states felt a gesture was necessary, so Ukraine doesn't feel abandoned. However, this has already caused disturbances in agriculture and transportation sectors." He insisted that Hungary should not bear the consequences of this decision.

Prime Minister Orbán was firm on the issue of starting negotiations with Ukraine, stating, "We understand Ukraine's intentions, but we cannot begin talks." He commented on the mixed signals from other EU leaders, like the Austrian Chancellor, who publicly opposed Ukraine's accession talks but voted in favor of it at the EU summit.

Discussing the migration crisis and its handling by the EU, PM Orbán expressed concerns about repeating past mistakes. He stressed the importance of cautiousness in these matters.

Highlighting the complexity of Ukraine's situation, PM Orbán questioned the logic of committing to a 50-billion-euro decision without clear foresight on the conflict's progression. He lamented that Hungary, yet to receive EU funds, might end up diverting its resources to Ukraine.

The prime minister criticized the idea of joint EU loans, citing Hungary's experience during the COVID-19 pandemic where the country did not benefit financially. He also responded to U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken's statement about American companies profiting from funds sent to Ukraine, linking it to the European Parliament's alleged manipulation by figures affiliated with George Soros to redirect funds from Hungary to Ukraine.

Prime Minister Orbán assured that despite challenges, the 32 billion euros due to Hungary would likely be secured. He defended Hungary's governance quality compared to Western Europe, citing the EU's declining competitiveness and problem-solving capabilities.

PM Orbán stressed Hungary's role as a bridge nation, not a ferry nation, emphasizing its historical connections with both the East and West. He highlighted Hungary's unique position in understanding and cooperating with both sides as a significant opportunity.

Concluding on a lighter note, PM Orbán humorously addressed the logistics of transporting a horse named Főúr to Turkey as a gift for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, indicating it would be flown there, symbolically representing Hungary's ability to navigate complex situations.