Addressing the Bálványos Summer University in Băile Tușnad, in central Romania, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the world was now facing the consequences of a shift in the global balance of power.
PM Orbán said the global balance of power that existed for 80 years following the second world war was “divided into two periods for Hungarians”. “There were the first 45 years when the Anglo-Saxons turned us over to the Soviet communists … and the second period which has so far lasted 33 years when we have lived freely without military occupation, the Soviet Union and communists,” he said. The world was in balance for 80 years because the Soviet Union had been “driven out of history without a war”, Orbán said. But now, China has shifted the world’s balance, he added. The current global trends, whether they may concern the economy, technological development or military power, favour Asia and China, Orbán said. “China stands before us in full superpower attire,” he said. It has a civilizational creed, seeing itself as “the centre of the universe”, it has a long-term plan to “make China great again”, as well as a medium-term programme to restore the dominance it had in Asia before the West got there, Orbán argued. He said the biggest question was whether a confrontation between China and the United States was avoidable. He said that though a war was not inevitable, “the truth is that this is the business of the big boys. We weren’t dealt a hand in this”. “All we can say is that it’s time to do something that’s never been done before: the big players should accept that there are two suns in the sky,” Orbán said. “The opposing sides should recognise one another as equals regardless of the current balance of power.” At the same time, Orbán warned that since it took an entire generation for a new balance of power to be established, it was this timeframe to which Hungarians’ plans needed to correspond.
As regards the state of the European Union, PM Orbán said the bloc “can give us the impression that it suffers from anxiety and feels surrounded”. The prime minister said the EU saw itself for what it was: “a rich and weak union which sees a rebellious world, confused noise, old grievances, many mouths to feed and massive consumption around itself”. Citing projected IMF country rankings for 2030, Orbán said Britain, Italy and France were projected to drop out of the top ten, while Germany was seen falling from its current fourth place to tenth. “That’s the reality,” Orbán said, adding that fear and the feeling of being surrounded was steering the EU towards isolationism because it “got scared of competition”. He compared the bloc to an ageing boxing champion who showed off his championship belts but no longer wanted to get back into the ring. This, he said, led to the EU shutting itself into “an economic, political and cultural ghetto”. He said the EU had used the sanctions against Russia to cut the country off from the European economy. But, he added that cutting Europe off Russian energy was ineffective, arguing that Russia could not be cut off from the rest of the world. “There will be someone else to buy the Russian raw materials while we suffer from wartime inflation and lose our competitiveness,” he said.
Prior to the war, the EU paid 300 billion euros for its gas and oil imports, while last year it paid 653 billion, Orbán said. So Europe is trying to compete while paying double for energy, while the rest of the world pays what it had been paying before the war, Orbán said. He said major European corporations did not want to cut ties with Russia. Altogether 8.5% of the 1,400 biggest Western companies have pulled out of Russia, Orbán said, noting that 88% of pharmaceutical companies, 79% of the European mining industry, 70% of energy companies and 77% of manufacturing firms continued to do business with Russia, and had contributed 3.5 billion US dollars to the Russian state budget. “From our perspective, the attack the Ukrainians have launched against poor little Hungarian OTP Bank is nothing but a manifestation of Hungarophobia, which we must reject,” the prime minister said.
Meanwhile, PM Orbán identified the struggle between “federalists and sovereignists” as the other major European trend in which the “sovereignist Visegrad Group” was left to face the “federalist Germans and French” on its own after Brexit. He said the federalists had “openly admitted that they wanted to see a change in government in Hungary and used every means of political corruption to finance the Hungarian opposition”. “They’re now doing the same thing in Poland and remember how they wanted to thwart a victory by the [Giorgia] Meloni-led right wing,” Orbán said, referring to recent general elections in Italy. The prime minister said he was hopeful that next year’s European Parliament elections would yield “a balance of power in Europe that is more favourable for us”. He said the “federalists” had “launched an attack against the Visegrad Group”. “We can all see the result: the Czechs have essentially switched sides, Slovakia is teetering, and only the Poles and the Hungarians are holding out,” he said. Orbán said there was a chance for the number of “sovereignist” countries to grow, noting that such a government had been formed in Italy. “Something is also moving in Austria, and there’s an election tomorrow in Spain,” he added. “The most important thing for Hungary is that we have to be aware of ourselves … and stick to the path we embarked on in 2010 after the 20 confusing years of the change of regime,” Orbán said. “We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we have a new era which has both intellectual and economic foundations.”
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