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“A solely values-based foreign policy dispensing with pragmatism … will necessarily lead to a policy unable to broker a compromise,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at his annual international press conference on Thursday, answering a question.

Orbán said reaching compromise was the only way in foreign policy to achieve results, adding that the two remaining options a country could choose were “isolation and a war”.

Orbán said that “when Hungary reaches an agreement with Turkey or any power in Asia … it does not mean the country is giving up on its principles, only that it is making foreign policy.” That is why, Orbán said, he rejected a solely values-based foreign policy, arguing that such a policy would “completely disarm” Hungary in the foreign policy arena.

“We must consider Hungarian national interests as primary,” Orbán said, adding that “others do the same, no matter what they say.”

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Answering another question, Orbán said Hungary had made strenuous efforts to aid persecuted Christians. “Their protection necessitates diplomatic moves which Hungary is making in a modest and confidential manner,” Orbán said.

Asked about the impact of the US-Iran conflict on Hungary’s energy policy as well as its diplomacy as part of the western alliance, the prime minister said the gap between the EU and the Israeli-American position on Iran should be narrowed. Orbán added that Hungary does not support the adoption of nuclear weapons by any country.

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Orbán said Hungary’s energy independence was in better shape than ten years ago. He added that it would be desirable for gas exploration to start in Romania as soon as possible and for Croatia to facilitate the partial purchase by Hungary of the LPG terminal being built on the Adriatic. Hungarian energy independence will be guaranteed given the fulfilment of both scenarios, he said.

Talking about the Paks upgrade, Orbán rebuffed claims that Hungary’s sovereignty would be affected by Russian. The PM said that Russia had never ever used a nuclear power plant for political purposes.

In response to a question on migrant quotas, he said a historic tension between pro-migration and anti-migration counties would not disappear because two groups with very different mindsets were fighting each other in Europe. Hungary belongs in the anti-migration group and will continue to protect its position accordingly, he said.

The job of the EU is to make sure that countries with different visions for their future should still be able to cooperate politically and intellectually, he said. He added, however, that he expected political disputes on the topic to endure.

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Commenting on the political activities of US financier George Soros, Orbán said “we do not have Soros-phobia” but “we stand against” the group led by Soros which, he said, aimed to exert influence on European policymaking. Orbán said many countries, unlike Hungary, were keeping quiet on the issue and the EU was actually funding the organisations in this group.

“The debates and battles concerning the sovereignty of the country must be fought,” he said.

Featured photo by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI