In an exclusive interview with French weekly Le Point, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stands firm against escalating the Ukraine conflict and changing the EU budget. He emphasized that Hungary's position still is that "there's no military solution in Ukraine, only a diplomatic one."
PM Orbán criticized the proposal to provide €50 billion to Ukraine over four years, stressing the importance of sovereignty and Hungary's right to dissent. "We have a budget in the European Union that was accepted three years ago with the other countries, including Hungary," he stated.
Instead, he suggested a compromise that would allow annual decisions on funding, thus emphasizing unity while respecting national sovereignty. "We are ready to be part of the solution of the 27 if it is guaranteed that every year we will decide whether to continue sending this money or not," he said. He addressed accusations of Hungary using its veto power as blackmail, insisting it's about "restoring and maintaining EU unity," not blackmail.
Acknowledging Hungary's challenging position in the EU, PM Orbán asserted his support for European unity but lamented the lack of acceptance for Hungary's independent stance by other member states. "It's very difficult to remain alone in this family," he said. He expressed concern over potential EU sanctions that link the Ukraine issue with rule of law, dismissing them as unrelated. "The two things have nothing to do with each other,” he said.
In response to Brussels’ leaked blackmail action plan against Hungary, the prime minister said that “we all have some experience in international politics. We did not come out of kindergarten. If the Financial Times publishes a document detailing a scenario of a financial blockade of Hungary and blackmail against us, we can be sure that it exists."
Discussing the upcoming European elections, PM Orbán argued against making long-term financial commitments without considering the European public's opinion: "It's as if the people's opinion has no importance." He said he sympathizes with Ukraine's need for financial support but stressed the necessity to balance it with Europe's economic struggles.
Reflecting on international politics, PM Orbán spoke highly of Donald Trump's leadership, believing his approach could have prevented the current European conflict: "If the American president had been called Donald Trump in February 2022, there would no longer be a war in Europe." He also criticized the EU's withholding of funds from Hungary over issues such as LGBT rights and corruption, arguing it's ideologically driven and “is nothing but blackmail."
Lastly, PM Orbán touched upon the agricultural challenges posed by Ukraine's closeness to the EU. He highlighted the need for careful consideration of Ukraine's impact on European economies, particularly in agriculture, urging the EU to protect its interests against Ukraine. "The (European) Commission must defend European interests against the Ukrainians, not Ukrainian interests against European farmers,” he concluded.