PM Orban: Peace ensures prosperity, and we want peace

Regarding the war in Ukraine, two diametrically opposed views clash in Hungary. The governing parties unequivocally stand for the country's security interests and for restoring peace as soon as possible, while the Left is warmongering, ready to drift Hungary into the conflict with each of their remarks. The compilation by Mediaworks News Center (MWH) presents the government's pro-peace stance through the statements of Prime Minster Viktor Orban and Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

POLITICS APRIL 2. 2022 19:19

Since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war, the Hungarian prime minister, the government and the Fidesz-KDNP coalition have taken a clear and firm position. The essence of their stance is

Hungary must stay out of the military conflict, and neither arms nor troops can be sent to Ukraine, because this would endanger Hungarian lives and drag Hungary into the war.

On Friday morning, the premier made it clear on Hungarian public radio that the government’s dispute is not with Ukraine, but with the Hungarian Left, who has made its own agreement with the Ukrainians in the background, and if they were to win the elections on Sunday, arms transfers to Ukraine would begin and gas from Russia would be cut off.

The Left is playing with fire,

Mr Orban said.

At the Fidesz campaign closing event in Szekesfehervar on Friday afternoon, the premier stressed that in this war “we have nothing to gain but everything to lose”. He reiterated that Hungary would not send troops nor weapons into the war.

A pro-peace stance from the first moment of the conflict

On 14 February, ten days before the outbreak of the war, Viktor Orban said – after consulting with European Council President Charles Michel on the crisis on the Russian-Ukrainian border – that avoiding war was in the interest of Europe as a whole, including Hungary. Therefore, diplomatic efforts must continue to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Strategic calmness

A few days after the outbreak of the armed conflict, Mr Orban said in an interview with Hungarian public television on 27 February:

“Strategic calmness is needed in a war situation, we must steer clear of all rash demands and initiatives that may sound popular but whose potential consequences may not be fully assessed,”

According to PM Orban, the move called for by the Hungarian Left of the country sending soldiers to the war zone is just such a demand. “It lacks the virtue of strategic patience and strategic calmness.” There is no need for that. There is also no need to hastily send weapons, because with these weapons Hungarians could also be shot at as there are Hungarians living in Transcarpathia and soldiers have also been conscripted from there.

Since then, the premier has consistently stood firm by this position.

In a Facebook video post on 19 March, he said,

“Here in the minds and hearts of all of us is the war that is taking place on Hungary’s eastern borders. I have to say, this came at the worst time for us. Of course, a war never comes at a good time. The best war is one we can avoid,” But this is now a serious challenge for us. (…) We will keep the peace. Peace ensures prosperity, war destroys, and we want peace.”

War or peace

The chairman of Fidesz has also spoken about the war at campaign events across the country. In Gyor, for example, he said: “our position is very clear: this is a Ukrainian-Russian war. This is not our war. This is a war between two peoples. Obviously, our hearts are with the attacked. No one can ask us to send our troops into a war we have nothing to do with, or to allow weapons to pass through Hungary which will immediately become military targets. Because the opponent will destroy them on the territory of Hungary or afterwards on the territory of Transcarpathia. That’s why we cannot send weapons and we cannot send troops, because we will become belligerents and we will be up to our necks in thewar. This is the stance of the national-minded side. The Left has a different position.

So the situation in terms of the election is that if the national-minded side wins, we have a chance for peace. If the Left wins, we have a chance for war.

To put it even more clearly, if we, Fidesz and the Christian Democrats (KDNP), the national-minded side wins, then we will stay out of the war. If the Left wins, we will drift into war.”

This made the stakes of Sunday’s general elections very clear: The fundamental security of Hungary and the Hungarian people depends on which side the majority votes for.

“We are a great nation”

In a post published on his social media, the PM also pointed out that there is only room in politics for a grown up, mature person, who does not identify with one or the other actor in the conflict, but first of all clarifies who we are and what our relationship is to this conflict.

“It’s not an adventure novel, it’s a matter of life and death. People die, countries are blown apart, economies collapse. Here we cannot put ourselves in the place of any of these actors, but we must make it clear that this is Hungary, we are Hungarians, we have clear interests, we have responsibilities, and we must always help those in need, and we will do our utmost to do so. The whole of European aid, if I look at it,

we have been receiving the largest number of refugees relative to our population and taking care of the largest number of people; we have already assisted refugees on a scale equal to more than 5 per cent of the Hungarian population

Mr Orban explained.

He also stressed, in response to Ferenc Gyurcsany’s harshly insulting remark: “We are not a lousy nation, we are a great nation that does the morally right thing. But we cannot help the Ukrainians by having Hungary blown apart.”

The Hungarian foreign minister has also reiterated that Hungary must stay out of this war and do its utmost to restore peace. Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council on 23 March, Mr Szijjarto said we consider it our duty to do everything in our power to prevent this war from spreading beyond Ukraine’s borders. “Unfortunately, this week, dangerous proposals have been put on the agenda of various international organisations: more and more of them are proposing the creation of an airspace blockade over Ukraine and the sending of ground troops to the country as peacekeepers. Let’s speak clearly.

Imposing a no-fly zone would mean an air war, as it would bring Western allied warplanes into direct conflict with the Russian air force.

And in the absence of peace, sending in ground troops would only create the possibility of conflict, even if the troops were to arrive with peacekeeping intentions. So each of these proposals opens up a new dimension to the risk of further escalation of the war, and we have to act against that,” the FM said.

In response to the repeated demands of the Ukrainian president, on 24 March, the day after the summit of European heads of government, Mr Szijjarto said on his social media: “We understand that the Ukrainian president puts Ukraine and the Ukrainian people first. But for us, the security of Hungary and the Hungarian people is the most important thing. We will do everything we can to ensure that Hungary stays out of the war, so we will not allow any arms shipments to pass through our territory. These shipments would be a military target to be destroyed, and we are not willing to risk the lives and safety of the Hungarian people.”

On the same day, before the NATO summit, the Mr Szijjarto said in a video that “NATO has made it clear that it is not part of this conflict and as an alliance it is not supplying weapons and the position here in NATO is that everything must be done to ensure that this war does not spread beyond the borders of Ukraine.”

He added that this is also in Hungary’s fundamental interest, and therefore the significance of the day from our point of view is that these NATO positions currently in force remain in force. After the summit of the military alliance, it became clear that the Hungarian position had prevailed, NATO has stuck to its strategy ever since, and as an alliance, is not supplying weapons to Ukraine and is not intervening in the war.



Hungary, peace, péter szijjártó, ukraine, viktor orban, war