Summarizing the outcomes of the recent NATO and EU summits, Viktor Orbán said that “the stakes were high.”
NATO has adopted a position entirely consistent with Hungary’s. It will not send troops to Ukraine at the organizational level, but it is not prohibiting its members from doing so individually, he explained. On a possible no-fly zone, he said this would possibly entail an air war and would therefore be a tragic decision.
Regarding the EU summit, the prime minister noted that four lists of sanctions against Russia have been adopted so far. However, he warned that extending sanctions to the energy sector would bring the Hungarian economy to a complete standstill, recalling that 65 percent of Hungary’s oil and 85 percent of its gas supplies come from Russia. He added that the economies of Germany and Austria would also pay a price for such measures.
Hungary’s position is clear and not unique, as many in Europe agree with it, PM Orbán said. “We are living in dangerous times; it is therefore essential to remain calm and to make sober decisions on all issues,” he stressed.
Overall, Hungarians are taking the right moral stance. We are doing everything we can for the Ukrainians, the prime minister said, highlighting that Hungary has taken in the largest number of refugees in proportion to population.
Reflecting on the upcoming parliamentary elections and referendum, Prime Minister Orbán said that they are significant to all of Europe. It is not only recent measures, such as the 13th month pension or the improvement of the family policy system, but peace and security that are now at stake. “Our message is clear: Only we can ensure peace and tranquility in this war,” he stressed.
On energy prices, PM Orbán noted that they were already high prior to the war and called on Brussels to suspend its policy of “artificial price increases.” The rise in energy prices alone is responsible for 50 percent of the inflation in Europe, he added.
Finally, the prime minister also discussed the issue of food security, as Ukraine and Russia account for a significant share of global trade in grains and the impact of the war on food supplies has already been felt in Africa. Food shortages are also feared in Europe, he said, adding that grain shortages can destabilize entire regions and continents.
The government estimates that in the current situation, Hungary is self-sufficient, being able to produce enough food to feed 17 million people. However, PM Orbán cited the government’s recent provision that the Hungarian authorities be notified of grain exports in advance so that if shipments jeopardize domestic food supplies, the state can exercise rights to pre-empt.