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EU policy of sanctions must be placed on reasonable foundations

The Prime Minister met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and received from him the Order of Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his service rendered for the development of the cooperation and relations of the two countries.

At the press conference held after the ceremony, Mr Orbán highlighted that it is in the nature of sanctions that decisions are made about them in places which are safe and are geographically far from the country against which they are imposed.

“It is easy to pursue a policy of sanctions from Paris, Brussels, Madrid, and perhaps even from Berlin,” he said, adding that “we are, however, closer to the sanctioned country, Russia”.

 

Photo: Prime Minister’s Press Office/Benko Vivien Cher

He took the view that whoever is situated closer “always suffers more,” and therefore there is nothing surprising about the fact that the Hungarian position is radically different from that of Brussels. Additionally, sanctions are usually imposed by a strong party against a weaker one, but today “we Europeans who are mere energy dwarves are imposing sanctions against an energy giant,” which is an utterly unusual phenomenon in history, he explained.

The Prime Minister stressed that “these sanctions are causing us very severe losses, they are bad for us and painful, are costing us a lot of money, and are conveying the threat that they will consume a large part of the results we have achieved in the past ten years”. This is due to the fact that as a result of energy prices having gone through the roof, “our foreign trade balance will deteriorate,” and “so will our balance of payments,” he pointed out.

He said, therefore, the sanctions that “Westerners have now invented” are not serving Hungary’s best interests, “in actual fact, they are posing an extremely serious threat to us”. What is most alarming about the whole thing is that “while we are walking into an ever more severe economic crisis,” it is perfectly evident that if the sanctions were lifted, the situation would immediately improve, he said, adding that it is not just that “we are on the receiving end of a major series of painful measures,” but that the whole thing could be undone with a single measure.

Photo: Prime Minister’s Press Office/Benko Vivien Cher

Mr Orbán said he will therefore always argue that the European Union should not impose sanctions which hurt the people of Central Europe more than the people against whom they are introduced.

In answer to a question regarding the report on Hungary adopted by the European Parliament on Thursday, the Prime Minister said “the only reason why we’re not laughing anymore is that we’re bored with it; this is a boring joke, it’s the third or fourth time that they’ve adopted a decision condemning Hungary in the European Parliament”.

He observed that “at first, we thought this had some significance, but now we regard it as a mere joke”.

He said “the European Left have occupied the European Parliament” and “our former party alliance,” the European People’s Party, too, is continually shifting towards the left. The percentages of the votes clearly indicate this: the right-wing parties voted for Hungary, the left-wing parties voted against it, he explained.

He took the view that this is not an objective judgement, but a party political attack which is not the first one against Hungary. “As for the quality of the adopted document, it is nothing more than political propaganda or a political pamphlet,” he said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that in Hungary we have elections, a parliamentary majority is formed, and if the majority are right-wing, then the Left do not like that and “organise an intifada in the European Parliament”.

 

Photo: Prime Minister’s Press Office/Benko Vivien Cher

Upon receiving the decoration, Mr Orbán said he regards it as encouragement for what he will do henceforth in the interest of Hungarian-Serbian friendship. Already István Széchenyi established that the interests of Serbia and Hungary were closely intertwined, that we must be friends, and so when the incumbent Hungarian government works for Serbian-Hungarian friendship, they fulfil a very old Hungarian wisdom, he stressed.

He said Hungary is a country which must be friendly with Serbia. We also have a common affair, together we must protect Europe’s Southern gates; this is a mission and a responsibility of the two countries all at once, the Prime Minister said.