Starting out, the prime minister regretfully noted that despite the climbing death toll on both sides of the war in Ukraine, he doesn’t see any significant shift in the stance of Western leaders, noting “that the number of countries and leaders who are for peace rather than war has not increased at all.”
Despite this, for the general population, war weariness, as experienced throughout European history and now again, has begun to set in.
According to Prime Minister Orbán, professional surveys tell a different story from the rhetoric of leaders. “The European people are moving towards peace” as the number of victims, pain and loss increase.
In his view, the reason for this discrepancy is simply because the changing sentiment “has not yet reached the leaders,” adding that “for the time being, much of Europe remains pro-war and is putting increasingly harsh means at the disposal of the Ukrainians.”
This also means that the line in the sand is getting redrawn over and over again regarding military aid to Ukraine. A year ago, the debate was “whether or not it was permissible to send a weapon capable of taking human life.” And now, we are talking about sending military aircraft and other lethal capabilities to Ukraine, he said.
The prime minister explained that while it “seems an exaggeration” at first, this spiral of escalation that Hungary has been criticizing from the very start of the conflict has the potential to “end up in World War III.”
PM Orbán said that the global divide when it comes to “moral obligation” also differentiates this war from others. While the West’s pro-war fervor is fueled by the “moral” need for Zelensky to prevail. The global community sees that “world war or world peace is at stake.” They grasp the looming threat of famines as global supply chains are threatened and destroyed.
These people “want to eat, want to live. They do not want war to reach them,” and European leaders “must accept that this is as strong a moral argument as theirs,” the PM added.
This is the main reason why “Hungary is an exception” within the European mainstream, because “we think that, on a moral basis, you should take a position in favor of peace” instead of war, as that is what is good for the “the global majority.”
This is not an easy position to take, the prime minister added. “They want to squeeze us into this war” via political “blackmail.”
That is why it is significant that today the Hungarian parliament will adopt a resolution to stand by its peace stance and call for a ceasefire, PM Orbán said.
While there is rampant speculation, primarily from the press, on the possible contents of a peace treaty, we are not concerned with what may come at the end of negotiations, he continued.
“Our position is that there should be a ceasefire. We should not be talking about peace negotiations now, but about a ceasefire,” PM Orbán said, adding that when the destruction in Ukraine is put to a halt and no more people are dying, only then can the contents of a treaty be worked out. “If we have that, if there is a ceasefire, then anything can happen after that,” he said.
On this matter, PM Viktor Orbán criticized the European Union because it should also be behind lasting peace and an environment in which member states can maintain or further their prosperity. But instead, Brussels has “given up both goals” and become “a pro-war institution.”
From an economic perspective “measuring the impact of sanctions is also a complex task,” he said. Over the years, nobody has been able to properly implement this mechanism, not just for Russia but for other countries as well, as “in a war, countries cannot be expected to tell the truth about their own economic difficulties.”
The prime minister stated, however, that “underestimating the adaptability of a country, including a country as powerful as Russia, is a fatal mistake, and what I can see is that the Russians are adapting to the situation created by the European sanctions.”
On the other hand, the effects of sanctions on the European economy are clearly devastating. As PM Orbán put it, “it is a perfectly obvious correlation that if there is war, there is inflation,” and “if we react to war with sanctions, then inflation will increase even more.”
Therefore, the Hungarian government is currently focused on cracking down on inflation, said PM Orbán, adding that inflation will be reduced to single digits by the end of the year.
“As I’ve said before, we have administered the vaccine. It will work, and it will protect the body from the disease. It will bring the fever down,” the prime minister concluded.