PM Orbán: Visegrad cooperation has "meaning and future"

The prime ministers of Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia agreed that Russia’s attack on Ukraine had been a “gross violation of international law”, and that Ukraine needed aid, PM Orbán said.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Visegrad cooperation has "meaning and future" despite a difference of opinion on support for Ukraine.
“Today’s meeting convinced me that Visegrad is alive and important. We are able to respectfully acknowledge our differences even if we debate each other’s stances. We continue to strengthen cooperation in joint issues. Hungary is ready to do that,” the prime minister said after attending a summit of the Visegrad Group in Prague on Tuesday. The Czech, Polish and Slovak prime ministers also acknowledged differences and took a stance for continued cooperation. Orbán said the summit “was not one of the easiest ones” as it had focused on “self-reflection” and on whether the Visegrad Group should be maintained in its current form. He noted that a similar meeting had taken place after the EU integration of the Visegrad countries, ending in the decision to maintain cooperation. The war in Ukraine “has overwritten everything”, and so the issue was back on the table, PM Orbán said. The prime ministers of Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia agreed that Russia’s attack on Ukraine had been a “gross violation of international law”, and that Ukraine needed aid, PM Orbán said.
“Hungary has another issue, namely that it wants to avoid having a joint border with Russia again, as it had bad experiences in the past,” the prime minister added. “One of the most important baselines of Hungarian national security is to have an entity between us and Russia. We help Ukraine also out of our own national interest,” he said. At the same time, Orbán said the Visegrad countries disagreed on “how to help Ukraine well”. “Hungary’s stance is clear: we shall not send weapons to Ukraine, with or without troops, but are ready to provide any other aid,” he said, noting the country’s efforts on humanitarian aid and care to Ukrainian refugees. Despite those differences, Orbán said carrying on with the Visegrad cooperation “makes sense”. Cooperation has been successful on issues such as illegal migration “as the matter of [mandatory resettlement] quotas is not off the table”. “Without our cooperation, tens or hundreds of thousands of migrants would be roaming our countries.”
Asked who he thought would win the war, PM Orbán called the question a “trap” and said, “it is impossible to tell who will win.” He rejected “branding” one or the other of the parties “culpable or guilty… that doesn’t lead anywhere”. “I suggest everyone maintains a strategic calm on the issue”. “All countries have the right to view the Russia-Ukraine war from Russia or Ukraine’s viewpoint.” Hungary, Orbán said, was unique in that respect as it viewed the matter from a Hungarian viewpoint. Hungarians maintain that neither Russia nor Ukraine backed by the West would be able to defeat the other, he said. In that situation, it is imperative to save lives and start peace talks as soon as possible, he said. He rejected the notion that Hungary had been isolated in international politics because of its views on the war. Responding to a question, all four prime ministers said their countries were not considering sending troops to Ukraine. Robert Fico of Slovakia said his country “will give all aid needed to Ukraine, except for weapons and ammunition.” Petr Fiala of Czechia and Donald Tusk of Poland said they would be ready to continue to provide weapons and ammunition. On the sidelines of the summit, PM Orbán also met former Czech presidents Miloš Zeman and Václav Klaus. The meeting with Zeman was also attended by incumbent Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. The ministers praised Hungarian-Czech political and cultural ties and reiterated experiences of their visits to each other’s countries. Klaus served as Czech President between 2003 and 2013 and Zeman between 2013 and 2023.