Gulyás: Hungary must stay out of the war

Gergely Gulyás said that as the tenth package of sanctions against Russia is adopted by the Council of the European Union and the war enters its second year, the situation must be assessed.

Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister's Office, said at a press briefing on Saturday that in spite of international pressure on Hungary with regard to its stand on the war in Ukraine, the government's position is unchanged: Hungary must stay out of the war.

Gulyás said that as the tenth package of sanctions against Russia is adopted by the Council of the European Union and the war enters its second year, the situation must be assessed. Europe is “drifting in the direction of war” and international pressure is growing on Hungary to change its position on issues on which it took decisions based on clear principles in the past year, he added. Hungary’s interest remains unchanged: the country must stay out of the war, he said. That stand was decided by Hungarians in last year’s election, while opposition to sanctions was confirmed in a National Consultation survey, he said. Hungary continues to refuse to deliver weapons, and it calls for a ceasefire and peace talks, Gulyás said. He said the government’s position remains that the responsibility for the war lies with Russia which violated international law and committed the aggression. Hungary is helping Ukraine financially, by humanitarian means and makes every effort to ensure that the ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine are affected as little as possible by the tragic situation, he added.

Gulyás added that the government is convinced that there will be only losers in the war, nobody can win, and the longer the war lasts, the more human lives will be lost, while inconceivable damage is caused to the built and natural environment. If Europe becomes involved in the war and NATO members participate in the conflict, it will bring the risk of World War III, so every effort must be made to prevent the escalation of the war, he told a regular press briefing. He said several “sober voices” had been heard in recent weeks: the Hungarian president met her US counterpart, along with eight other heads of state, and the Chinese proposed a peace plan. The effects of the sanctions on energy prices have been dramatic, Gulyás said, adding that this impacted food and services prices the most. Families and pensioners continue to be protected by utility price caps which the government will maintain, up to average consumption, throughout this year, he added. Energy companies, banks, multinational retailers and pharmaceutical companies have benefited from higher energy prices and must make a bigger contribution to the budget, so they must pay a windfall profit tax this year, too, Gulyás said. The government is ready to negotiate with those companies on how they will pay the tax, but it must be paid, he added. On another subject, he said a recent case put the issue of child protection in focus. When a teaching assistant abuses his position and students’ trust, it is “unacceptable and intolerable”, he added. When he boasts about this on social media, it is “pathological and nauseating”, he added. “Someone acting this way with a 14-15 year-old is clearly a paedophile and must be treated as one”, he said. He said rules on child protection must be reviewed. The interior minister has instructed authorities to conduct expedited, comprehensive and thorough probes in all such instances, he added. The matter of protecting children is among the “most important issues”, he said, adding that a referendum on the matter that coincided with the elections in the spring had garnered more support than any other issue, political topic or political party since 1989.