In response to a question on whether some sanctions against Russia are seen to be against Hungarian interests, the state secretary for international communication and relations explained that EU member states represent common European interests. Hungary is highly dependent on Russia in terms of energy, with 85 percent of the country’s oil and 65 percent of its gas coming from Russia, he said, adding that Hungary’s position on Russian energy has so far been very much in line with the interests of most of Europe.
Hungary’s refusal to allow the transfer of arms on its territory is both a position on behalf of the Hungarian people and also takes into account the interests of Hungarians in Transcarpathia. Kovács underlined that it is also in the Hungarian national interest that “the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine is intact.”
Speaking about refugees arriving in Hungary, Zoltán Kovács stressed that whatever the burden and cost, Hungary will care for those fleeing to Hungary from a neighboring country. Ukraine can fully count on the Hungarian government; it will take care of these refugees without any financial or other restrictions, he said. On the migratory pressure on Europe’s southern borders, the state secretary said “we are committed to those who flee to Hungary as the first safe country,” but “we say no to illegal migrants.”
Discussing the economic impact of the war on Hungary, Zoltán Kovács said that the previous sanctions against Russia had placed a greater burden on the countries of Central Europe, including Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. This is due to their proximity to Eastern Europe and their already established economic cooperation, including with Russia. The Hungarian government will take measures to protect and serve Hungarian jobs and entrepreneurs, as it did during the COVID pandemic because “we believe that in the midst of a crisis, it is always important to think ahead.”
He noted, however, that under the current circumstances, it is particularly dangerous to withhold European money from Hungary. This is why Hungary is asking for the money it is entitled to receive from the Recovery Fund, as well as the funds available to it in the next seven-year cycle of the European Union.
The Hungarian government is calling for cool-headed, sober decisions when dealing with aggression and the appropriate application of sanctions towards those responsible, the state secretary said, underlining that Hungary is behind the common stance that the war should end and peace should be reinstated as soon as possible.
Photo credit: Facebook/Kovács Zoltán