Kicking off his Friday morning interview, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that the U.S. sanctions on the International Investment Bank are not against Hungary, as there are 34 individuals on the list, and only one of them is Hungarian.
“The 34 individuals include one Hungarian. One. There is an EU citizen, there’s a Cypriot, I found an Austrian and a Lichtensteinian. This was clearly a U.S. operation focused mainly on financial professionals. We have never agreed with sanctions, but we do not deny the right of anyone, including the United States, to impose sanctions if it sees fit. We take note of them and we comply with them,” PM Orbán said.
In his view, the bank could have played a major role in European development, but since the war began, its opportunities have been reduced, and with the current sanctions, Hungary's participation in the International Investment Bank has become completely pointless.
“We have good relations with the Americans, we declared war on them only once in our lives, in World War II, and, well, that was not a successful diplomatic action,” PM Orbán said, making it clear that the United States is our friend and important ally. According to the prime minister, the philosophies of the two countries share some common points; we also believe that we need freedom and a market economy to live well, and the United States is also a Christian country.
PM Orbán said economic cooperation between the two countries had never been so intense. According to him, America is currently very divided, and when there is a Democratic president, things are more difficult for Hungarians. Relations with the Republican leadership, on the other hand, are usually better.
“The reason for this is that on the fundamental issues of modern politics, the Republican viewpoint is closer to the Hungarian government's perspective and philosophy, say on migration, on opposing migration, on gender, on family protection. However, it is not our job to pick and choose between the actors in American political life. The American people will decide to whom they give the ultimate power, and we will work with the government that the American people elect,” PM Orbán said.
Currently, the PM added, the most important difference between the standpoints of Hungary and the United States is the issue of war. We rightly expect the United States to accept Hungary's special situation, but they have still not given up on trying to force our country into war, PM Orbán said, adding that we will not supply weapons. Speaking about the poster campaign financed by the U.S. embassy in Budapest, he said it was an unconventional tool and that it came too late because the Hungarians had already sent the Russians home once. He himself remembers quite well how this happened.
PM Viktor Orbán said there was a chance to build political consensus for a pro-peace commitment, but the left showed its pro-war stance by not voting for the pro-peace proposal of the governing parties. The prime minister hopes that the situation will change in the future and that the political spectrum will become more united on the issue of war, alongside a social consensus.
The prime minister also said he was increasingly concerned about the prospect of an escalation of the war. “The situation is getting worse,” he said, adding that “if there is a world war, it will be a nuclear war.”
Responding to a question on whether a global crisis could be prevented, the prime minister said that if global leaders were sensible, the world could be in a better state than it is now. In this respect, PM Orbán said, the French President's visit to China could be a step forward. In his view, we must gather friends in the world, not enemies. Prime Minister Orbán welcomed Emmanuel Macron's statement on Europe's strategic autonomy, saying that the continent should be able to pursue its own interests.
PM Orbán called President Macron an honorable man who is currently the only European leader with the ability to think in historical terms. He said that they think differently about the future of Europe: While the Hungarian governing parties hope for a Christian renaissance, the French president would build a liberal Europe. But at least, the prime minister added, Macron’s plan is sensible and long-term, a vision that could help the suffering continent of Europe, as opposed to the petty, sanctions-ridden policy coming out of Brussels.
The prime minister also commented on the current state of inflation, saying that the lifting of food price caps will not happen for the time being. He is confident that inflation will fall more going into the summer, but for now, inflation is still too high.