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“Central Europe Can Save Europe”

Mariann Őry 2022.11.09.

Balázs Orbán, the political director of the Hungarian prime minister spoke to a Polish newspaper about the war in Ukraine and Polish-Hungarian relations.

“If everyone who is on the side of peace is considered to be on Putin’s side, then we will lose the chance of a rational debate,”

Balázs Orbán, the prime minister’s political director told the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita. He added that Viktor Orbán is on the same side as Pope Francis, Henry Kissinger, Jürgen Habermas, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel or former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.” You cannot say that these people serve the interests of Russia,” he noted.

“Hungary’s position is clear, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said it several times: in this conflict Russia is the aggressor, it is violating international law, it is threatening the integrity of a sovereign country, and the Ukrainians are the victims, we support their integration with the EU,” he explained. Balázs Orbán added that a frozen conflict is not in Europe’s interest and that the United States and Russia should negotiate.

On possible peace talks, Balázs Orbán said that Poland and Hungary have different positions, but that this is “not a strategic difference, but a tactical one”.

“From a strategic point of view, both you and we need a sovereign Ukraine and a strong Central Europe to defend ourselves against Russia,”

he told the Polish newspaper.

The political director said strong leadership is needed in the West, because Russia attacks – Crimea under the Obama administration, Ukraine under the Biden administration – when it sees the West as weak. He reiterated the Hungarian position that the invasion of Ukraine could not have happened under Donald Trump’s presidency.

Balázs Orbán was also asked about Slovak Foreign Minister Rastislav Káčer’s view that Hungary is traumatized by the loss of much of its territory following the 1920 Trianon peace treaty. “It is politicians who say such ridiculous things who are traumatized. Many ordinary Hungarians and Slovaks want peaceful cooperation and friendship, even if they see things differently. In democracies, voters are sometimes smarter than politicians,” he said.

Asked about the Visegrád Group – Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic -, he said that cooperation between the V4 countries was a geopolitical necessity.

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Asked about the different views of the Polish and Hungarian governing parties on the Ukraine war, Balázs Orbán said that “if there are differences in marriage, there is no need to divorce immediately”.

“National conservative parties find it more difficult to cooperate than liberal parties. Because liberal parties deny that the history, geography, cultural heritage of a society matter,”

he explained. “The divisions over Russia, by the way, exist among the socialists, but they cooperate. This can be overcome to make the national-conservative voice heard in Europe,” he noted.

Responding to speculation that Hungary was considering leaving the European Union, the political director said: “I will scare our opponents in the EU. They will have to live with us for a very, very long time”. “We think we have a task: we have to save Europe. Central Europe can save Europe,” he added.

Featured photo via Facebook/Orbán Balázs

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