Diplomacy / European politics is dominated by severe challenges 

European politics is dominated by severe challenges 

The global developments of the recent past have been stormy, and European politics is dominated by severe challenges, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday in Astana, at the 10th summit of the Organization of Turkic States. 

In his address delivered at the summit, Mr Orbán said we are facing difficult dilemmas, and the answers that we will give in Europe will have a strong impact on relations between the Turkic world and the continent. 

The Prime Minister stated that from a European point of view, global security is in the worst state since the end of the Cold War. “The situation had never been as difficult and complex in the past thirty years as it is now,” he underlined. 

The Prime Minister reminded the attendees of the summit that the Russo-Ukrainian war had been ongoing for a year and a half, there was an armed conflict under way in the Middle East, in the countries of the European Union, the threat of terrorism was becoming ever more severe, and Europe was unable to stop the “shockwaves” of migration at its borders; the only exception was Hungary. 

He added that the world economy had been turned upside down twice within a short time; once due to Covid, and once because of the war in Ukraine. In the meantime, energy prices have risen, and this has a severely negative impact on European competitiveness. 

“The European dilemma is this: What is in Europe’s best interests? The development of blocs in the world economy, or the enhancement of global connections, of connectivity?” Mr Orbán pointed out. 

He said one school wants to push Europe in the direction of blocs; they first severed the links of European-Russian economic cooperation which once constituted the foundations of the European economy, and now we are debating in Europe whether we should restrict cooperation with the East, including relations with China.

According to Mr Orbán, the other school in this debate – which Hungary belongs to – wants to strengthen cooperation, and sees an opportunity in the fact that we need each other, an opportunity for growth and the enhancement of our competitiveness.

“Therefore, we would like the period ahead to be about connectivity and global connections,” the Prime Minister stressed, adding that he knows the Turkic Council as “a champion of connectivity,” and he is convinced that the direction they have followed in recent years is the right direction. 

The Prime Minister also spoke about the European debate surrounding the Russo-Ukrainian war, observing that the war represents a direct threat to everyone who lives on the continent, including the Hungarians. “A year and a half have gone by, and I have to say that it is evident that the European strategy pursued to date has failed,” he highlighted. 

He added: The plan was that Ukraine will fight, while we westerners will provide money and weapons, and as a result, Ukraine will win on the battlefield, Russia will lose the war, there will be changes in Moscow, and we will come to an agreement with the new Russian leadership.

According to the Prime Minister, this was an ambitious and logical plan, but it has not worked, and so the question that dominates European politics is whether they should face the realities on the ground and formulate a Plan B. 

He recalled that one of the items on the agenda in the EU was whether they should give Ukraine EUR 50 billion. Mr Orbán believes this indicates that the majority continues to take the view that the previous failed strategy must be pursued and financed. 

The Prime Minister added that this debate was causing major tensions among European countries and would last for minimum two months. 

I’d like to inform you, Esteemed Presidents, that Hungary is urging a Plan B which is aimed at a ceasefire, peace talks and the construction of a new European security architecture which is reassuring for Ukraine, and is also acceptable for Russia,the Prime Minister said. 

Mr Orbán said he was convinced that Turkey, and through Turkey, the Turkic world, too, must feature in this new European security architecture because without Turkey we cannot have a sustainable and long-term European security architecture. 

He said in the present international situation, the role of the Organization of Turkic States is gaining in importance; the Turkic states have so far been able to contain conflicts, and have reduced the risks of escalation. “Hungary would like to continue to strengthen this policy in the Organization of Turkic States,” he stressed. 

The Prime Minister confirmed that Hungary was ready to take part in the work of the Turkic Investment Fund, and maintained its earlier offer to make a contribution of EUR 100 million. 

He expressed his gratitude for the fact that Hungary was allowed to join the work of the Green Finance Council, and reminded members of the Council that Hungary was one of the twenty countries in the world whose GDP was growing, while the emission of harmful pollutants was decreasing. 

In his speech, Mr Orbán thanked Kazakh head of state Kassym-Jomart Tokayev for the invitation, observing that he was happy to come to the summit, and wished him a successful presidency. He conveyed “the Hungarian people’s respects” to Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the republic. He said “we Hungarians know what a fantastic achievement this was on the part of Turkey a hundred years ago, something that we Hungarians were regrettably not capable of a hundred years ago.”

He also thanked Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the efforts he has made with a view to restoring peace in Europe. 

Mr Orbán especially greeted Uzbek head of state Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and thanked him for having successfully led the work of the Organization of Turkic States “in a very difficult and complex” period.

The Prime Minister wished Azeri President Ilham Aliyev all the very best with his efforts to stabilise the region, and also wished him all the very best with the rebuilding of Karabakh. 


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